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L I B RAFLY 

OF THE 

UNIVERSITY 

Of ILLI NOIS 

St 38s 
V.2. 



ST. OLAVE'S 



VOL. II. 



S T. 01 AYE'S. 



"Live for to-day ! to-morrow's light 
To-morrow's cares shall bring to sight, 
Go, sleep like closiug flowers at night, 
And Heaven thy morn will bless." 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 
VOL 11. 



LONDON : 
HURST AND BLACKETT, PUBLISHERS, 

STJCCESSOES TO HENRY COLBURN, 

13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. 

1863. 

Tlie right of Translation is reserved. 



BAL2IEL. BEOTHERS, CAMDEN PRESS. tONDOX. 






ST. OLAVE'S. 



mi 



CHAPTER I. 

HE day after tlie pic-nie was hot and 
drowsy. Grey in tlie sunshine stood 
the old Cathedral, idle shadows creep- 
ing round about within its lichened buttresses 
and over the carved work of the battlements 
and statue niches. The great west doors 
were flung wide open, revealing long shadowy 
ranges of clustered columns over whicli 
stray gleams of light from the many-coloured 
windows wandered to and fro. And often some 
passer-by, weary of the heat and sunshine outside, 
turned into the dim half-dark nave; just as at 
other times, when tired of life's glare and beating 
heat, he might turn for shelter into the cool 
haunted aisles of Memory, 

VOL. II. B 



Not a breath of wind stin-ed the goldening elm- 
trees. The prisoned spirit, whoever he might be, 
that wailed so often from the belfry tower, was 
silent this afternoon. The rooks swooped idly ronnd 
and round the crocketed spires, or clustered high up 
on the battlements of the broad tower, cawing in 
sedate ecclesiastical monotone as though they were 
performing a cathedral service for their own 
special edification. Sometimes a misanthropic 
member of the company would wheel away by 
himself to the elm trees, and then, shaken off by 
the touch of his black wing, leaf after leaf fluttered 
noiselessly down, and nestled in the tall rank 
grass beneath. A group of little chorister boys, 
with very dirty collars and no wristbands to speak 
of, were playing marbles under the west door, one 
of their number being placed by turns as sentinel 
to give notice if the Dean or Canon-Resident 
should pass that way; for games of all sorts, 
especially marbles and hop-scotch, were strictly 
forbidden in the Close. 

The warm pleasant day had brought out most 
of the almsfolk. Martin Speller looked blander 
than usual. He was sitting in his arm-chair out- 
side his own cottage door, smoking his pipe and 



3 

meditating sometimes on the blue-grey Minster 
towers, whose shadows stretched quite out to the 
ahnshouses, sometimes on the stray flies which 
were buzzing about on a voyage of discovery over 
his worsted stockings. Mrs. Marris could not 
indulge herself in the luxury of meditation this 
afternoon, for she was busy over a bstch of short 
cakes, whose fragrant memorial wafted now and 
then from her oven door quite up to Martin 
Speller^s chair, and made the old man snuff the 
air in an inquiring manner. 

Mrs. Marris was anxious to get her cakes baked 
and eaten too, before the bell put in for afternoon 
prayers. She was free to confess those prayers 
put her sadly out of the way sometimes. They 
were very good, certainly, but she thought somehow 
folks needn't say them quite so often. 

^^ Tears like to me," she remarked to Mrs. Cro- 
marty, who was standing outside the doorway with 
a basket of clean clothes for the Old Lodge, 
"Spears like to me, if 'folks says their Colic, and 
' I believe,^ reglar of a mornin, an^ then uses their 
best endeavours to keep theirselves decent and not 
do no harm to no one, such a sight o' prayers ain^t 
no yield much. Prayers is all right for them as 

B 2 



4 ST. OLAVE S. 

hasn't got no cooking to do^ but it don't stand to 
reason as folks can give their intellects to t' Litany, 
and do their reverences proper when they^re won- 
dering all t' while if t' pot's boilin' over, and if t' 
loaf wants turnin'. Leastways, that's my ex- 
perience." 

'^ But come yer ways in, Mrs. Cromarty, and sit 
ye down. I lay ye're pretty nigh beat out wi' this 
pec-nic." 

"Ay, marry," said Mrs. Cromarty, roughly, 
and yet good-naturedly, " what wi' worretin' about 
to see as things didn't get broke — it 'ud go to my 
heart if yon white chaney of Mistress Grey^s 
came to harm — an' then wi' washin' and fettlin' 
up afterwards, I reckon I'm pretty nigh sold up 
this time, anyhow." 

" That's just it," and Mrs. Morris took the cake 
tin out of the oven with her apron, and turned 
over the rich brown cakes, " big folks does the 
pleasurin', and middle sized folks look at 'em, an' 
little folks, like you an' me, has to tew about and 
fend for 'em both. That's way things goes i' this 
here world, Mrs. Cromarty." 

" Why, as for pleasurin', pec-nics ain't no great 
yield accordin' to my line o' tliinkin'. It beats 



ST. OLAVE^S. 5 

me^ it does, Mrs. Marris^, the trouble quality takes 
to make theirselves uncomfortable.^^ 

'^'^Law,, Mrs. Cromarty, what d^ye mean?^^ said 
Mrs. Morris, who was at a loss to comprehend 
this bold statement. 

^^ Why, look here,^^ and Mrs. Cromarty untied 
her bonnet strings, for she was getting warm, 
'^when folks might hev^ their dinner like Chris- 
tians, off a decent meogny table, wi' regular chairs, 
n^ napkins, n' knives n^ forks, n' things enough 
to set up a shop, besides glass n^ chaney, and 
them as fetches an^ carries, I donH see no manner 
o' sense in squattin^ round a table-cloth as ainH 
got nothin' under it but grass and spiders, n' sich 
things. An^ then, instead o^ velvet cushions, same 
as they^re used to at home, they^ll sit ^em down 
wi^ nowt but a bit o^ shawl betwixt them an^ t' 
grass, or mebby leanin' up agin an ould tree stum 
as gives ^em rheumatiz its so damp, let alone ants 
an' earwigs, an^ beetles, an^ things as lives in it, 
creepin' round an' crawlin' up ye." 

Mrs. M arris shrugged her shoulders and shook 
out her lilac print gown. 

" And then if it's a fine day, t' midges flies about 
and tumbles into t' chicken sass ; an' if it's wet. 



6 ST. OLAVE^S. 

rain splashes into t' open tarts and mashes 'em all 
to notliin'^ an' happen if it's been a bit damp the 
night afore^ frogs starts hoppin' about and makin' 
t' young leddies skree out like mad. And then 
the waste^ law, Mrs. Harris, the waste, why it 'ud 
make a heathen cry shame on 'em, to think o' the 
pies as gets upset, and fowls wi' white sass as tum- 
bles promiscus among tarts an' cheesecakes, an' 
spoils 'em all ; an' then, as likely as not, when 
you've got things put out as decent and christian 
as ye can, t' wind sets on — it's allers windy at a 
pec-nic— and mustard pot rolls right away into t* 
middle o' the custards, wi' the salt after it. It's 
unreasonable, Mrs. Marris, it is," and Mrs. Cro- 
marty looked disgusted. 

"'Tisn't vittles as lies on my mind," replied 
Mrs. Marris, " them as pays for 'em has a right to 
waste 'em if they've a likin' to, and t' money's 
into shopkeeper's pockets if it's out o' some one 
else's. But it's the way the dresses gets abused 
as riles me, Mrs. Cromarty. Now there's yon 
beautiful muslin as took me nigh upon half a day 
nobbut last week to do up for Miss Somers, and 
she's sent it back this mornin' wi' no more shape 
nor if you'd taken a yellow butterfly's wing and 



ST. OLAVE S. 



crunched it up i^ yer hand. It^s that sort o' 

waste as hn't seemly for folks as calls theirselves 

Christians ; but I lay it ^ud be a viewly sight,, Mrs. 

Cromarty, to see t' young leddies.^'' 

^^Ay, they were rare an^ menseful. It were 

kind o^ witchin' to see ^em dancing afore they went 

off, they minded me o" nothing but bits o' cloud 

wi^ sunlight shinin^ on "em, a flickerin" up an" 

doTvu. M^'ss Alice was bonniest of "em all 

though, she was i' white muslin wi" green 

spots."" 

'' Ay, she"s that sweet is Miss Alice, I could go 

down of my knees and say my prayers tull her 
a"most. I lay she"ll no be Miss Alice long, there"s 
over many young men comes spryin" round after 
her, and walkin" her out ; but, law, there's my 
cakes burnin" ; folks had ought to live wi" their 
heads inside t" oven door when they"re bakin", or 
things is sure to catch."" 

^^ I"se seed our new trac" lady"s brother,"" con- 
tinued Mrs. Marris, as she overhauled her 
cake tin again, and turned its contents, " him, 
you know, as plays music at Minster, back"ards 
and for"ards this good bit past. Folks as goes to 
the Old Lodge allers has to come by my door^ and 



8 ST. OLAVE S. 

I've took heed of him pretty oft. D'ye think he's 
looking sweet upon her?" 

" She'll none marry him, Mrs. Harris, she'll 
none marry him. She kind o' looks up tull him 
and he has t' rule over her just as if she were a 
haby. I've heerd him take her up right sharp 
sometimes, an' she never gives him so much as a 
word back; but she'll none marry him. She's 
that dainty, is Miss Alice, as she must hev' some- 
body that's gainly lookin' and pickish to match 
her. She'n none wed grey hairs and stoopin' 
shoulders." 

'^An' she's in t' right on it, Mrs. Cromarty. 
Viewly men and viewly women does best to- 
gether. I ain't patience when a young lady what's 
as neat and jimp as a canary bird, goes an' weds 
herself to a man as looks like nowt but a sack o' 
flour wi' a string tied round its middle." 

'^ Good looks is nobbut skin deep, and a fair face 
covers a false 'eart, and rosy cheeks turns to dust 
and ashes," ejaculated Betsy Dowlie, an alms- 
woman from the other end of the row, who had 
come out to feel the sun, and was drawn towards 
Mrs. Marris's door by the increasing odour of the 
hot cakes. 



ST. OLAVE S. 



Betsey Dowlie was a spare-looking woman of 
sixty-five or thereabouts. There was nothing re- 
markable about her appearance, save that her 
unstarched cap borders flimped up and down in a 
loose, purposeless sort of way, and the reverse 
aspect of her gown was generally unprepossessing, 
in consequence of a chronic disarrangement 
amongst its fastenings. She belonged to the same 
denomination as Mrs. Cromarty; but the two 
women had little in common except the bench on 
which they sat at the meeting-house, and were as 
unlike each other as the rosy-cheeked October 
apple is to its lean and shrivelled relative which 
has been gathered six months and kept through 
the frost and blight of winter-time. 

From her seventh until her fourteenth year, 
Mistress Dowlie had been " taken in and done for '^ 
at the St.Olave^s charity-school. At the completion 
of her educational curriculum, she was placed out 
with a batch of other girls in respectable ser- 
vice, and, being a quiet, washed-out, well-con- 
ducted sort of young person, she had given general 
satisfaction to her employers. Some ten or twelve 
years ago, the Dean and Chapter put her into one 
of the almshouses, with full possession of all the 



10 

rights and privileges pertaining thereunto. A few 
of the families with whom she had livedo kept her 
in green tea^ lump sugar, and sundry other spinster 
luxuries, so that, on the whole, pensioner No. 8 
might be said to make a pleasant thing of life. 

Most people would have contrived to erect a 
little edifice of thanksgiving on this solid founda- 
tion of creature comforts; but, unfortunately, 
Mistress Dowlie had a natural inaptitude for look- 
ing on the bright side of things. She was, like 
many other people, born into the world with 
drab spectacles on her nose, and had never 
been able to cast them. She was much given to 
abusing the present estate of life. According to 
her representation, it was a vale of tears, a waste 
howling wilderness, a thorny path which neither 
green tea at six shillings a pound, nor lump sugar 
ad infinitum, nor an allowance of nine shillings a 
week, could in any degree smooth or lighten. 
Listening to her description of it, one might have 
concluded that the world was a huge house of cor- 
rection, and human bodies divinely appointed 
tread-mills for the unfortunate souls who were 
destined to inhabit them. A theological writer 
would have described her religious character as 



ST. OLAVe's. 11 

vehemently " subjective,'' that is^ she was more 
inclined to the inward grace of silence and medi- 
tation than to the outward one of keeping herself 
and her cottage bright and clean and trim. 

" Hould your whisht^ Missis Dowlie/^ said Mrs. 
Cromarty, it always made her feel as she expressed 
it, "kind o' aggravated," when her fellow-member 
began to launch out into animadversions on people 
and things in general. " Whereas the need o^ 
runnin^ down God's good gifts and revilin' things 
as He's seen good to bless T' 

" I aint sayin' notliin' but what's in t' Book, 
Mrs. Cromarty. What does Solomon say about 
favour an' beauty ? Ye're wise enough if ye 
know more nor he did." 

"I don't go for to say but what Solomon 
hisself liked a pretty woman better nor a plain 
un, nobbut she had discretion along with it. An' look 
at Queen Esther, warn't she fair 'n beautiful, an' 
didn't she put on her royal apparel when she went 
in to t' king, which, as I take it, means that 
she made herself look as menseful as she could, 
same as Miss Alice, bless her, does when she 
gets her white muslin and blue ribbons. I ain't 
patience wi' folks 8s can't let other folks be 



12 ST. OLAVE^S. 

pretty^ just ^ cause their own faces is as ungainly 
as a black crow. I ain^t to call ^comely myseP, 
but I allers likes to look at them as is.^^ 

Mistress Dowlie_, beaten out of this line of 
thought^ betook herself to another. 

^' Is yer experience prosperin', Mrs. Cromarty ? 
It^s a tryin^ thing for folk^s souls is li\dn^ in t' 
midst o^ so much gaiety. I mind when I were 
sittiwated ladies^ maid wi"* the Bishop's daughters, 
afore I came here, my sperittle feelins got 
awful thin an' weak wi' bein' so much agate over 
pomps and vanities." 

" An they'll never be now't else but thin and 
weak, Mistress Dowlie, if ye're allers a tewin' 
an' scrattin' at 'em, to see how they're comin' 
on. Sperittle feelins is like starch things, less ye 
finger 'em an' better." 

"Bless me, Mrs. Cromarty, you allers put 
things so queer-like. But surely folks had ought 
to know the state o' their minds, and whether 
they're in t' enjoyment o' grace or not." 

" In course ; but spryin' into yer feelins won't 
help ye on a bit. 'Tain't no yield axin' yerself 
how do ye feel, and what's state o' yer mind, — 
it's what are ye doin\ I allers axes. That 



13 

settles t^ question. When yer i' danger o' 
settlin^ down into a low key, just start on an^ 
ax the Almighty to show ye yer duty, an^ what 
He's got for ye to do : an' when ye once get 
agate o' duty in His name, yer experience '11 
spin along first-rate, without yer ever stoppin' to 
fix it up in t' right track/' 

" Well, I allers thought it were t' best way 
to get yourself cut ofi" fra' outward things, 
an' shut yourself up an' meditate." 

" Livin' out o' doors is healthier. Mistress 
Dowlie — livin' out o' doors is healthier. Bless 
ye, doin' yer duty's better nor a clothes-basket- 
ful o' t' best sperritle feelin's as was ever made." 
^^I ain't got no duties as I knows on," 
twittered Mistress Dowlie. '^ What mun I do ?" 

^' Do, why do onything. Go doT\Ti of yer 
knees and scrub that there floor of yours, while 
it shines again, and then brighten up yer pots 
and things, and then, if you've a bit o' time to 
spare, go an' read a psalm to yon poor ould 
blind woman as sits i' th' sunshine wi' sich a 
kind-like smile on her poor bit face. Bless ye, 
when yer sperittle experience starts o' runnin' 
thin an' weak, it's allers a sign yer missin' 



14 

sumraut as God Almighty's laid upo' yer con- 
science to mind/^ 

Mistress Dowlie did not much relish this 
allusion to the state of her floor,, and made no 
further effort towards keeping up the conversa- 
sion. 

^' Come now, both on ye/^ said Mrs. Marris, 
who never ventured into theological subjects, and 
had therefore been silent for the last few minutes, 
" YouVe been at it long enough, and prayers has 
got to come. Draw yer chairs up and have a bit o^ 
tea. I allers likes to see folks comfortable." 

Whilst the conversation had been going on, 
Mrs. Marris had brewed the tea and spread a 
cloth on the table. She now proceeded to cut 
up the cakes. Very tempting they looked, — crisp, 
richly browned, and well furnished with butter, — 
for when Mrs. Marris did give herself a bit of a 
treat, she had no notion of doing things by 
halves. Then she filled up the little black tea- 
pot, and called upon Mrs. Cromarty to say 
grace. 

"I allers likes my tea," she said, after she 
had got through the first piece of short-cake; 
^'it kind o' clears my intellects. Nobbut I'se 



15 

forced to get it over soon^ cause of the prayers. 
All i' summer time tliey goes in at half-past 
four^ and there ain^t time to hev' it comfortable. 
Vwe oft thought I^d get -'em sided out firsts and 
hev^ a cup o^ tea afterwards^ but la',Y3 ! I should 
get impatient afore they was over. Them two 
or three as comes towards back end^ \\d be 
awful long if I were a waitin^ for my tea all t^ 
time they was agate^ an^ so I just keeps along 
in t^ ould track.^' 

" I^m feared yer prayers don^t do ye much 
good^ Mrs. Marris^ if ye ainH no more enjoyment 
nor that in ^em." 

" Good^ Mrs. Cromarty ! bless ye no. I never 
look to get no good from ^em ; we has wa ^low- 
ance ye see by account o^ goin' regular ; but it 
ainH no sperittle good in no shape or way whatever 
as I sees. They^re awful stiffs such a sight o^ 
bowin^ and scrapin^ and flittin^ up and down as 
beats me to find out what it means.^'' 

'' Vm sometimes thinkin' Mrs. Marris, though 
I don^t go for to say nowt agin' other folks' ways, 
we gets nearer t' throne o' grace at our little room 
down yonder at t' Low Gardens. Its beautiful and 
sweet whiles is the influence as seems to copa^ 



10 ST. olate's. 

aljout us tliere^ thougli the singin^ ain^t iiothin* 
particular to speak on/^ 

" Nearer^ yes I reckon ye do^ a pretty sight 
nearer. I were there a week or two hack^ and it 
seemed like to me Mrs. Cromarty them folks was 
in t^ right track if any was. It were awful solemn 
while t' address were on^ an^ I could ha^ fretted if 
there hadnH been such a sight o^ people. But 
law Mrs. Cromarty ! I were sort o^ skeered when 
they started prayin^ ; they bawled that loud while 
I was feared them outside ^ud think summut was 
np/^ 

'' Folks canH allers trim their voices when they^re 
in airnest, Mrs. Marris. TheyM better bawl 
their prayers wi' a feelin^ heart nor chant ^em to a 
tune without thinkin^ what it is they^resayin'.^' 

^^ Ye're in t' right on it, Mrs. Cromarty. Nobbut 
folks is sincere I don't matter ways and means ; 
but it goes again me the way they does things at 
yon place of ours/' and Mrs. Marris pointed with 
her cup in her hand to the Minster. She always 
spoke as if slie had a personal and vested interest 
in St. Olave's Cathedral and its appurtenances. 
" Them there little singin' lads has all manner 
of unproper freaks when t' prayers is agate. It 



17 

were nobbut a bit since I seed two of 'em countin^ 
out a bag o^ marbles while they was on wi^ the 
' Lettest thou depart/ Now I don't put in to hev 
a great sight o' religion myself, but I was allers 
brought up to know what's proper, and I just gived 
'em a look, but it warn't no yield, not a bit. 
Now Mrs. Cromarty, it's that sort o' thing oft 
trips me up and sets me thinkin' whether God 
Almighty makes an account o' such like prayin^ 
an' praisin'." 

" I lets these here things alone, Mrs. Marris ; 
there's a vast o' things i' this world as the best 
you can do with 'em is to let 'em alone. They'll 
smother ye i' no time if ye start tewin^ with 'em. 
Maybe the Lord sees good where poor mortals 
like us doesn't. Tain't clear tome as the blessed 
Apostles singed their prayers, but if book-larned 
folks thinks its the gainest way, why it ain't my 
track to find fault. Ye'U need to go and sort 
yourself. Mistress Dowlie ; yon's bell puttin' in for 
prayers." 

'^ I aint goin' to t' prayers," said Mistress 
Dowlie stretching herself, " I'se got a pain i' my 
inside. These cakes o' yourn is over rich, IN Irs. 
Marris." 

VOL. II. c 



18 ST. olave's. 

" Take a bit o^ ginger, honey/' and Mrs. Harris 
went to the corner cupboard, from which she took 
out a little bottle and put some of the contents 
into a cup. ^^ Here's some, best sort, as Miss 
Bruce, bless her, gived me when I was badly fore- 
end o' t' year. There's nowt so good as a bit o' 
ginger for a pain i' the inside : it clears it off 
i' no time." 

"Ay," said Mrs. Cromarty with a glance at 
Mistress Dowlie's somewhat cadaverous looking 
physiognomy, " an it '11 do yer sperittle feelins a 
vast o' good too, see if it won't ; folks oft gets into 
a low key, and their experience clean runs to 
nothin', and they think they're goin' to be cast 
out straight away, when its nothin' but colic, 
and a bit o' ginger 'ud fix 'em upright and make 
'em like giants refreshed wi' new wine." 

Mistress Dowlie groaned, but took the ginger 
and then set off slowly towards her own door, her 
cap borders flapping about in a vague, undecided 
sort of way. 

" It's nowt but meditatin' and meditatin' and 
meditatin'; there aint no yield in that sort o' 
thing," said Mrs. Cromarty when the subjective 
spinster was out of sight. "David said while he 



• 19 

was a^ate o* musin* the fire burned, but I'se war- 
rant it ■'ud ba' gone out again sharp enough^ if he 
hadn't tuned up and sung that blessed psalm to 
keep it in/' 

'' Poor body/' said Mrs. Harris, taking her black 
silk bonnet from the peg behind the door, *' I 
allers pities them as can't get their talkin' done 
for want o' folks to listen to em'. There's yon 
poor Mrs. Edenall, as lives wi' Miss Bruce, I 
clean wearies for her, she looks so corked up like. 
She's as full o' trouble as she can hold, and she 
ain't got nobody to tell it to." 

''Mrs. Edenall's a born queen," said Mrs. 
Cromarty. '' She minds me o' that young leddy 
I telled ye of, ye rec'lect don't ye." 

" Ay marry, I shan't let that story slip. Her as 
got beguiled away and never came back no more ; 
image of Miss Alice you said she was."" 

" Whisht, Mrs. Marris, whisht. It goes agen' me 
to hear ye liken bonnie Miss Alice to yon poor 
lorn creetur' as ruined herself body and soul for 
him as didn't care the toss of a penny for her. 
But its the make o' Mrs. Edenall as minds me o' 
my poor leddy. She'd just that way with her like 
a princess, prideful and yet so sorrowful whiles, 

c2 



20- 

as if slieM gotten a look at tilings as had to 
come/^ 

'' Talk o^ some folks an' you're sure to see 'em. 
There's Mrs. Edenall comin' up t' road; she passes 
here as reg'lar as clockwork of an afternoon to go 
to prayers. Law now, Mrs. Cromarty, isn't she a 
pictur' o' pride?" And the two women stood within 
the doorway to watch her. 

She came along with a firm, deliberate tread, 
Cleopatra-like, slow and stately. Martin Speller 
took his pipe out of his mouth, uncrossed his 
legs, rose, and made a low creaky bow as she 
passed. She saw him preparing to accomplish 
this act of reverence, and put out her hand with a 
deprecating gesture, — who was she that any 
human creature" should cringe to her? But it 
was too late, he was on his feet and the deed done 
before she could prevent it. 

" I'd as soon do my obedience tuU her as any 
of 'em," said Martin as he sat down, recrossed his 
worsted stockings, and put his pipe in his mouth. 
" She's a born leddy she is, I knows real 
quality when I sees 'em, same as I tells good bacca, 
and she's got the make of a queen in her, though 
folks hereabouts hasn't found it out." 



21 

Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Cromarty dropped a 
rustic curtsey as she passed them. Mrs. Edenall 
returned it gravely ;, quietly, almost humbly, with 
far more grace than she Avould have tendered to 
the Dean^s lady or even the Bishop himself. Mrs. 
Cromarty stood at the door watching her until 
she disappeared behind the west front of the 
Cathedral. Then, taking her clothes basket, she 
walked slowly away up the narrow lane that led to 
the Old Lodge garden. 



22 



CHAPTER II. 

ANET Bruce sat in tlie little parlour at 
Westwood waiting for David to come 
home. 

The wind crept with a low sigh round and round 
the garden, sometimes sharpening almost into a 
scream, anon dying off into a dismal hopeless 
wail, and the rain-drops plashed heavily with slow 
monotonous drip, drip, from the vine leaves round 
the trellis. 

Within, however, all was bright and pleasant. 
That parlour at Westwood always looked best 
when daylight was gone. Janet might keep out 
the sunlight with lattice- work of leaves and creep- 
ing plants, but she could not prevent the firelight 



ST. OL.VVE^S. 23 

from frisking merrily round as it did now, making 
quaint, flickering, changeable Chinese shadows on 
the white window blind, and gleaming with a soft, 
warm glow over the glazed paper, and bringing out 
into still bolder relief the fine old carved oak 
frame with its wild wealth of buds and flowers and 
winding arabesque work. The unlighted lamp 
stood on the table, and by it a vase of wild flowers, — 
forget-me-not, pimpernel, harebell, — with one or 
two golden wheat ears and a few feathery plumes 
of grass which Janet had gathered by the roadside 
as they came home from Norlands. 

The timepiece was on the stroke of nine o'clock. 
Miss Bruce was not surprised at her brother being 
late. She took it for granted that Mistress Amiel 
Grey would ask him to go in and stay supper at 
the Old Lodge ; and, once seated there, the rain 
would be likely enough to detain him, even if 
nothing else did. 

To wile away the time, she had taken out, 
her knitting work — the little white sock which, 
like Penelope's web, seemed destined to per- 
petual unflnishedness. She looked just as tidy 
and peaceful and patient as ever, as she sat 
there, rocking to and fro in the great easy chair 



24 

by the fire. Judging from the dainty neatness 
of her grey Llama dress^ and the smooth^ un- 
wrinkled whiteness of her linen collar and cuffs — 
which might have been turned oflFMrs. Cromarty^s 
ironing-board scarce ten minutes before — no one 
would have thought that Janet had been all day 
pleasuring at a pic-nic. There was not even a 
touch of more than ordinary weariness on her 
face, nor a tinge of that dim twilight erinni that 
comes after the sunshine of pleasure. Few things 
stirred her spirit now out of that utter quiet- 
ness which had become its settled habit. 

Meanwhile David Bruce was making headway 
as best he could against rain and pain and — 
what is sometimes harder to bear than either — 
disappointment. 

Indeed, the walk home from Norlands was 
not likely to be a pleasant one. It is, to say the 
least of it, wounding to a man^s amour propre, to 
have his place at a lady^s side usurped by one 
younger, handsomer, perhaps more agreeable than 
himself, and to be dropped half-way on the road 
as a useless worn-out thing of no further service 
or convenience. It requires a fair amount of 
dignity to go throug'h such an experience with 



ZQ 



any sort of credit^ or to look back upon it with- 
out a great smart of wounded vanity. 

But David Bruce had that dignity. Deep down 
in the heart of him there was a quietj unwaver- 
ing self-appreciation — not self-esteem,, though 
often confounded with it — which neither rose nor 
fell with passing circumstances. He knew himself 
for what he was, and could therefore afford that 
other people should sometimes mistake him. He 
had no vanity to be ruffled by failure, no self- 
conceit to be nipped and crushed by Mr. Cuthbert 
^Scrymgeour^s indifference or scorn. To a fussy 
little man, the humiliation of such an accident 
would have been intense, the mortification very 
keen. He would have fretted and pined over it 
all the rest of the way, and been in a bad 
temper for at least a month. David ' Bruce just 
walked on quietly and bravely, as if nothing had 
happened. All he lacked was that pleasant hope- 
ful feeling which had made the beginning of the 
ride home so bright. 

Before he had got half way, for he could not 
walk fast on account of his sprained wrist, 
that was becoming very painful, the rain came 
plashing down in great sullen drops, and black 



26 ST. olave's. 

clouds rolled up from behind the Norlands hills. 
The first thought that came into David Bruce^s 
mind when he saw them, was that Alice would be 
safely sheltered before the storm could break in 
its fury. He could bear it for himself so only it 
did not reach her. And indeed, she had been 
sitting for a full hour in the crimson-curtained 
Oriel room of the Old Lodge, before he arrived, 
chilled, drenched, and shivering, in the narrow 
lane which led up to Westwood. 

Janet came to meet him in the hall, and looked 
amazed to see him standing there dripping like a 
diver. 

^' Oh, Davie, how wet you are ! Surely Mrs. 
Grey could not have known how fast it is raining, 
or she would never have let you walk from the 
Old Lodge without an umbrella ; she is always so 
thoughtful and kind." 

Then her brother had to explain all ; Benjie's 
miraculous performances, the upset against the 
bank, Mr. Scrymgeour's timely, or untimely 
appearance, and the story of his accident. But 
indeed the arm began to tell its own story, for it 
had swollen frightfully, and there would be no 
more organ-playing for David Bruce just yet at 
any rate. 



ST. OLAVE^S. 27 

Janet took off his dripping coat, and fetched the 
warm dressing-gown and slippers which had been 
waiting for him at the fire. Then she got him 
some hot coffee, and made him drink it whilst she 
bathed and bound his arm. If tender nursing 
could have supplied his need, David would lack 
nothing so long as that quiet-hearted sister was 
near him. 

There was such pleasant soothing leisureliness 
in all Janet^s household ways. What she did was 
done so quietly, so tenderly. She never fassed 
over anything or anybody, never sympathized 
loudly whilst she forgot to help. All the deep- 
lying goodness of her nature came out at the sight 
of pain. When things went brightly and merrily, 
Janet might be and very likely was, rather a dull 
companion. She had no wit to enliven, no ripple 
of jest or anecdote to freshen the tide of talk, no 
sparkling laugh to kindle its reflection in the face 
of those it met. She was still, almost too still 
for the happy time. But when sunshine was over 
and gone, when need, sorrow, sickness, or any 
other adversity came, then those who had to do 
with Janet Bruce felt the value of her patient, 
true-hearted kindness. 

" You^re very good, Jeanic. I wearied sair for 



28 

ye the niglit/' said David^ as he leaned back on 
the sofa and his sister sat by him with her 
knitting work. Often when these two were alone 
at home^ they fell into their own tender old 
Scottish phrases^ those phrases which seem to 
have so much more warmth and friendliness 
than our slippery English idioms. 

Janet^s face brightened as she heard him say 
this ; it grew nearly beautiful. Her brother was 
all she had to live for^ and his words of love were 
very precious. To feel that she could do him 
good, to feel that he looked to her in any way 
for comfort and tenderness, was all the happiness 
she had now, and it was all she needed. She 
laid down her work and put her hand into his. 

" I think after all, Davie, home is the best 
place for us. The proud faces about here don't 
look kindly on us. I would not be ill-pleased 
never to see them again.'' 

'' We must e'en be content with ane anither for 
the noo, Jeanie," said David, quietly keeping her 
hand in his, but his voice did not sound quite 
so wearily as Janet's, though his face was very 
pale. The most of love and hope lay before him 
yet; for her it was all passed by, and the 



ST. olave's, 29 

best slie could do \Yitli life was to be patient 
with it. 

" Jeanie/' he said, after a long pause, in which 
the silence had been so deep that his voice 
falling upon it made her start. " Jeanie, how 
still the room feels.^^ 

"It^s because Mrs. Edenall is away/^ Janet 
replied. '^ I donH know how it is, but wherever 
she is, there seems to be a sort of tumult. She 
gives me the feeling of a crowd, of being 
pressed upon and crushed. As soon as she is 
gone, the quietness comes back. This room has 
never been quite like its old self since that first 
night she came into it.^' 

'^You are growing fanciful, Jeanie; where is 
she now V 

*^^0h, she took her lamp and went to bed 
more than an hour ago. She was very still 
after we came home from Norlands; at least I 
mean she did not speak at all, though she 
seemed to be in a sort of restless flutter.'"' 

^' She would be tired, perhaps ; you know she 
is not accustomed to much exercise, and you 
must have walked eight or nine miles to-day at 
the least.'' 



30 

" No, Davie, she wasn^t tired, I^m quite sure 
of that. She was walking up and down the 
room the whole of the time after we came home, 
until she made me dazed and bewildered with 
the continual motion. Then she bade me good 
night and said she was going to bed, but Tibbie 
says she's not gone to bed, for she^s heard her 
walking the room this hour past almost. Davie, 
she is a very strange woman." 

'^ We will let her alone, Jeanie, and be tender to 
her. Her life has had some great wrench that she 
keeps from us. What she wants i.s rest, and we 
will try to give it her.''' 

There was another long pause. This time Janet 
broke it. 

" Brother, Alice Grey would like fine to ride 
home with Mr. Scrymgeour. She would be pleased 
with him." 

David winced. There came over him that creep- 
ing, magnetic chill which we feel when we find 
that the thoughts of others, especially if they be 
sad and uncanny thoughts, have been going along 
in the same track as our own. He said somewhat 
sharply — 

" Why ? what makes you think that V 



ST. OLAVE^S. 31 

Janet did not notice the sharpness, at any rate 
she did not heed it. She still kept David^s hand 
in her's, and said in just her quiet rnatter-of-fact 
tones — 

" Alice loves anything that is dainty and beau- 
tiful. It is in her nature, she cannot help it. You 
remember what she said this afternoon at Norlands 
about her ideal of a man.^^ 

David did remember it. But Janet uncon- 
siously cleared off any purple haze of hope which 
the memory of those words of Alice^s might have 
left, by putting the matter in the light of sober 
common-place reason. 

*' Girls, and especially warm-hearted impulsive 
girls, like Miss Grey, mostly fix upon those who 
are very opposite to the ideal they have set up in 
their own minds. She says she does not care for 
beauty and gracefulness; now Brother, I think 
that those two things are the things above all 
others that will really most sway her choice. It 
is always so. If you notice you will find it every 
day of your life. When a young girl professes a 
preference for one style of character, it is more 
than likely she will fix upon its very opposite.'' 

David Bruce loosed his hold of Janet's hand, 



33 

and finding it at liberty she went on with her 
knitting work. He looked across to the mirror. 
It revealed a shock of shaggy grey-black hair, 
falling untidily over a face very deeply furrowed 
with the hard lines of thought and endurance. In 
contrast with his sister^s^ quiet and placid and 
peaceful as a lake in the summer-time^ there was 
still less of what people generally call beauty in it. 
Janet^s eyes were bent down over her work, so that 
she did not see the almost defiant look that 
came into his. 

He said no more just then. The straight 
even brows tightened into a rugged line, and the 
lips took a sterner bend. Janet thought once or 
twice she heard a sharp quick-drawn breath, but 
it might be only his arm that was paining him. 
By-and-b}^ he murmured, as if tired and sleepy, 

'^ Jeanie, after all the best part of a pic-nic is the 
coming home again. ^' 

And though the voice this time was not so 
bright, his sister was pleased to hear him say it. 



33 



CHAPTER III. 



iis 



IBBIE was quite right. That night 
had been no resting time for Mrs. 
Edenall. 

When she went into her room she locked and 
bolted the door, and looked into the cupboards, 
pressing together the empty dresses that hung 
there to make sure that no one lurked behind 
them. This custom had grown into a habit with 
her during the long years of a life in which she 
had had no friend to care for or protect her. Then 
she wrapped herself in her scarlet dressing gown, 
and, drawing out an easy chair, sat down by the 
little table that stood in the window. 

The sky was black with rain clouds, save in the 

VOL. II. D 



34 

east, where they tore into ragged fringes through 
which the harvest moon peered with a faint un- 
certain glimmer, just serving to reveal the outline 
of the chesnut trees that hounded the garden, and 
beyond them the gabled roofs of the tall old- 
fashioned houses on the outskirts of the city. 
Mrs. Edenall turned away from these,[and looked 
towards Norlands, thinking perhaps of the little 
coffin and the baby soul which had found sure rest 
so soon. 

She must have sat there for nearly half-an-hour ; 
then with a sigh she roused herself and drew to- 
wards her a desk that stood on the table. When 
she had unlocked this she took out of it a worn- 
out pocket-book, carefully wrapped in many folds 
of paper. 

It was an unsightly looking thing, out of date 
for the last twenty years at least. On the faded 
morocco cover was a silver plate in the form of a 
shield, bearing the initials " D. R." It opened 
with two clasps, both very rusty now, and the 
inside was lined with rich silk of the Ramsay 
tartan, which, though dimmed and frayed, still 
showed the red stripes and checkers of black and 
white. There were but few leaves remaining in 



ST. olave's. 35 

the bookj and the entries that had once been made 
there seemed long ago blotted out by tears that 
had fallen upon them. These leaves were con- 
fined in their place by a silken band,, so that year 
by year they might be taken out and supplied by 
fresh ones. Pressed between them were a few 
foreign flowers^ a cluster of Alpine rose^ two or 
three fern sprays^ a single linden leaf — such trifles 
as young lovers cherish, and which, short-lived 
though they be, often last longer than the happy 
time that first made them precious. 

She turned these over tenderly, as a mother 
might handle the playthings of her dead baby. 
Sometimes a low, rippling laugh, ending in a 
sigh, broke through her parted lips, and as she 
pressed her cheek to the withered things, a loving, 
human-natural look softened the keen outlines of 
her face. After these mildewed pages came a 
little pocket, fastened with a second silver clasp, 
bearing the same initials as the outer one. From 
this she took a folded paper. Opening it, there 
fell out upon her lap a single curl of strong bright 
flaxen hair, entwined with a long tress of 
golden brown. Inside the paper were these 
words, written in a man's hand : — 

D 2 



36 ST. OLAVE^S. 

^' Marian and Douglas. Under the linden trees 
of Bulach. August^ 18 — '' 

She unbound her own hair^ and let it fall over 
her shoulders in great^ massy waves. Then 
taking up the silken tress, she matched it with 
those fast greying locks from which the golden 
sheen had long ago faded. What memories were 
they that the idle task brought back ? For as she 
did it, her face grew hard, and stern, and pale 
with the shadow of unforgotten wrongs. By-and- 
by she flung the paper from her lap, and began to 
pace the room, slowly at first, then quickly, impa- 
tiently ; her hands sometimes tightly clenched 
together, sometimes outstretched as though to 
bid away some loathsome thing. 

The Cathedral clock struck eleven. The West- 
wood people were late to-night, on account of the 
pic-nic. Soon after the bells had finished chim- 
ing, Tibbie's heavy tramp was heard on th? stairs. 
Then the door of Miss Bruce's room closed, and 
all was quiet for the night. 

Still Mrs. Edenall paced up and down, wildly, 
fiercely. At last she stopped, picked up the paper 
which she had awhile ago flung upon the floor, 
and bending over the lamp, held in its clear flame 



ST. OLAVE^S. 37 

the two locks of liair^ until they were burned to a 
cinder. With a strange^ sardonic smile, she 
watched how they writhed and crackled and 
struggled in the heat_, then dropped fragment by 
fragment, until nothing remained of them but a 
little heap of grey ash. 

Nothing but that. No power of hers could 
bring back the golden lock now, either to speak 
of any wrong whose remembrance it had been, or 
to tell of dead joys, once as bright as its own 
sunny beauty. Perhaps she thought of this, for 
with the eagerness of a hasty, impulsive nature, 
she caught up the slip of paper which held the 
two names, and pressed it passionately to her lips. 
Over and over again she kissed it, leaning her 
cheek down upon the yellow faded writing, as if 
any love given now could charm back the 
treasure it had once kept for her. 

Weary at last, she folded her arms on the 
table and buried her head in them. Once and 
again a deep sob broke the stillness of the room ; 
once a solitary tear rolled down her cheek, and 
glistened over the great heavy waves of hair that 
lay loosely round her. 

One after another the quarters struck from the 



38 ST. OLAVE^S. 

bell tower of St. Olave's, but still sbe crouched 
there mute and moveless^ as though carved in 
stone. The stroke of one o^ clock rang out^ fall- 
ing with a heavy resonant clang upon the 
hushed air. The rain poured fiercely upon the 
windows ; the wind moaned round and round, 
blowing often in sudden, impatient gusts through 
the window-frames, and scattering over that pros- 
trate form the grey ashes that still lay beneath 
the lamp. 

T\Tien at last, after that dreary vigil, Mrs. 
Edenall, rose, her face was very pale, but there 
was no longer any pride or passion in it, — any 
hope or human tenderness. It was the face of 
one for whom all outlook of earthly joy is passed 
away, before whom past and; future are alike 
stretched as one flat, arid, ungreened wilder- 
ness. It was the face of one who bends no 
longer over the dying, but the dead ; who has, no 
longer any life to cherish, or any spark of hope 
to keep from fading out. 

She had not the look of one who has prayed, 
and so, even in the utter darkness, won strength 
to grapple with despair ; or of one who, treading the 
valley of death and feeling the chill wind blowing 



ST. OLAVE^S. 

up its steeps, sees beyond them a rest that may 
hereafter be reached. No ray, not even the 
faintest, of that peace which God gives, glimmered 
from those weary eyes, or softened the rigid lines 
of the lips which were folded down in such pas- 
sionless despair. 

Good, happy, fireside women never see such 
faces, even in their dreams. But now and then 
the gleam of a policeman^s lantern flashes upon 
them as they peer out livid and ghastly from the 
slime of Adelphi arches, after the poor souls 
that once looked through them have shivered 
into eternity. And it may be that Sabbath after 
Sabbath, when beneath cathedral roofs, and from 
softly cushioned pews, the prayer goes up for ^' all 
who are desolate and oppressed,^' Christ, the 
Pitiful, the Merciful One, remembers such as 
these, and prays the Father for them. 

And all the time, close to this silent suffering 
woman, so near that they could almost hear each 
other's breath, Janet Bruce slept quietly on, know- 
ing none of these things. 



4() 



CHAPTER IV. 




ITTLE by little grey morning crept up 
[3[ above the eastern sky. Wave after wave 
[t began to curl and ripple over the infinite 
ocean of sleep, and as it broke upon the shore of 
waking life, tossed itself into those wreaths of 
foamy fantastic spray which we call dreams. 

Alice Grey woke in the midst of a ramb- 
ling vision. She was in a beautiful Highland glen, 
whose sides were clothed with tall pine trees, arid 
tangled with clasping fern and long tresses of 
white-veined ivy. From the rocks at one end 
gushed out a little cascade, widening as it descended 
until it flowed through the valley beyond in a broad 
stream. She was on one side of this stream 



ST. OLAYE^S. 41 

and David Bruce on the other. He wanted to 
join her^ but the water was too deep,, and they 
both walked on separately to the source of the 
stream^ where it narrowed into a little runnel 
which a child might ford. He came to her then, 
and was just going to clasp her hand, when the 
waterfall suddenly shrank into two tiny cataracts 
of wavy light-brown hair, over which the rocks 
and trees shaped themselves into the chiselled face 
and crisp cui'ly locks of Mr. Cuthbert Scrymgeour. 
Here Da^ad vanished away, and with that Alice 
woke. 

The sun was shining bravely in through the 
window. The first thing that it showed her was 
her muslin dress, crumpled up in a heap on one of 
the chairs, and doing its best to bear out the cor- 
rectness of the simile which Mrs. Marris had used. 
One or two wheat ears were still clinging to it. 
The sight of them brought back the whole afiair 
of the pic-nic, and then for the first time since she 
came home, Alice thought of David Bruce, and 
wondered how he was getting on — whether 
his arm had really been much hurt, and whether 
he had got very wet in walking home from Nor- 
lands after she had left him. 



42 

She got up and laid the wheat ears carefully away 
in a drawer. Her heart smote her rather for hav- 
ing been so forgetful. She would go the first thing 
when breakfast was over^ and ask how he was. Or 
stay, not so ; she would go to the Minster first, and 
hear if he played the organ ; she should know his 
touch she was quite sure. If he did play, all would 
be right, and she need not trouble herself, if he 
did not, she would go straight away to Westwood 
and see him. Possibly, though Alice did not ask 
herself the question, the chance of Mr. Scrymgeour 
reading prayers at the Minster had something to 
do with this determination. 

Aunt Amiel did not come down to breakfast. 
She scarcely ever left her room now until ten or 
eleven o^ clock, for she was growing very infirm. 
Alice took her a cup of cofi'ee upstairs and sat by 
her whilst she drank it, amusing the old lady 
meanwhile by a full account of the pic-nic, the 
walk to Norlands, the climb to the top of the 
tower, the dance in the garden ; and then, for the 
second time, the adventure which befel them on the 
road home. Whilst she was relating it, the bells 
began to chime for morning service, and before she 
had got as far as Mr. Cuthbert Scrymgeour^s 



ST. olave's. 43 

sudden apparition^ she had to run away and put on 
her hat and scarf. 

Mistress Amiel Grey^s seat was at the organ end 
of the choir^ next to the Deanery pew and the stall 
of the resident Canon. It commanded a first-rate 
view of the congregation,, if that was any advantage, 
being somewhat elevated and facing the whole 
range of seats away down to the altar-screen. 
Most of the people had come in when Alice got 
there, and she walked up the aisle with a pleased 
fluttering consciousness'^that perhaps Mr. Scrym- 
geour might be watching her from his aunt^s pew. 
She was mistaken though, for when she rose from 
her preliminary devotions and glanced shyly in that 
direction, the crimson curtained enclosure just be- 
neath the Bishop^ s seat of state was unoccupied 
save by the rustling black draperies of the 
Archdeacon^ s widow. 

The almshouse people were in their places on 
one of the front forms near the reading-desk, close 
under the vigilant eye of the Canon, who checked 
any incipient signs of sleepiness by a look that 
spoke unutterable things. Mrs. Marris^s lilac 
gown was bginning to stand in need of the kindly 
offices of the wash-tub ; it had been put clean 



44 

on last Sunday mornings and tlie week was now 
wearing to a close. Perhaps,, according to her 
own philosophy^ this fact might account for her 
not enjoying the prayers so much this morning, 
for she evidently found it difficult to keep awake, 
and her leather-covered Prayer-book tottered sus- 
piciously before the Litany was half over. Next 
to her sat Martin Speller, a cui bono sort of look 
on his shrewd hard-lined face, as if he were per- 
petually saying to himself " Prayin' aint no yield 
as ever I see.^^ Betsy Dowlie was there too, with 
her flapping cap borders and coal-scuttle bonnet, 
and at the end of the bench sat Ruth Cane, her 
sightless face turned towards the organ, that face 
whose sunshine never died out and whose calm 
no storm had leave to break. 

By-and-by the crimson curtains parted and a 
milky river of surplices flowed into the choir, 
dividing into two smaller streams which poured 
into the choristers^ pews on each side. Then came 
the Dean, a tall stately man with scarlet hood and 
tasselled cap, and Dr. Hewlett, one of the sub- 
Canons, whose grand, peaceful face seemed like — 

"the benediction 
That follows after prayer." 



45 

Next entered the officiating clergymen. Alice 
glanced furtively at them under her long eye- 
lashes^ hoping that one might be Cuthbert Scrym- 
geour; but again she was destined to be disap- 
pointed. One was young Mr. Grace^ the vicar- 
choral; the other Dr. Stern^ a short stout man 
with an extensive tract of stubby hair shooting 
down into a peninsula of whisker on each side 
his rubicund cheeks. 

When all had reached their places they knelt 
down. The little singing -boys covered their heads 
with their surplices and were understood to go 
through a prayer^ but judging from a stray waft of 
peppermint and black-jack which came from that 
locality _, it is to be presumed they were regaling 
themselves with something more earthly and sen- 
sual. The great Cathedral bell struck ten^ and 
when the last stroke had died away, the service 
began. 

Alice looked up into the organ gallery ; the 
curtain was closely drawn this morning, and she 
could not tell whether the piece of head which now 
and then rose above it, belonged to Mr. Bruce or 
not. The first notes of the organ, however, in the 
' " Venite,^' convinced her that he was not tlicrc. 



46 ST. OLAVE^S. 

That grand old instrument ^vas like a high- 
mettled steed, docile as a child under the guidance 
of a powerful hand, obedient to the slightest 
touch which came with the ring of authority ; but 
utterly fractious and unmanageable for the 
venturesome fingers of an amateur. The notes 
came tumbling out in glorious confusion, now 
rolling along in magnificent defiance of the unprac- 
tised hand that vainly attempted to guide them, 
and now breaking off into spasmodic squeaks and 
jerks which ruined the gra^dty of the little singing- 
boys, and made the gi'own-up choristers look pro- 
foundly disgusted. The discord grew worse and 
worse; at last, the Dean signed to the verger, 
who took a message into the organ-gallery, where- 
upon the instrumental part of the performance 
came to an untimely conclusion. 

Alice wearied for the service to be over. The 
prayers and lessons had never seemed so long 
before. There was no melody in the voice that 
read them, and she had not yet learned to find any 
music in the words beyond that which the speaker 
could give. When the last Amen was over, she 
slipped away through a little side door at the 
north end, and past the trim, high, old-fashioned » 



ST. OLAVE^S. 47 

Close houses into tlie secluded road that led to 
Westwood. 

She found them all at home. Mrs. Edenall was 
sitting in the window-seat^ a little paler than usual 
perhaps^ but with that same drawn^ rigid look 
about her face which it always wore when she was 
not alone. She had a piece of netting in her 
hand_, the first work of any kind Alice had ever 
seen her do. She laboured on at it mechanically, 
scarcely ever looking at it though^ but peering out 
into the garden with the same far-off imconscious 
gaze that Alice remembered the first time she 
had met her. She returned the young girPs 
greeting with a vague sort of stateliness,, that had 
neither recognition nor friendship in it, and 
then went back to her seat. 

Alice's better self was always in the ascendant 
when she entered the parlour at Westwood. Some 
rooms appear to have a perpetual consecration be- 
longing to them. Crossing their thresholds it 
seems as natural to pray as though the lofty aisles 
of a cathedral bent over our heads, and the s©lemn 
tones of its worshippers were sounding in our ears. 
There is a feeling of sacredness in the air, a silent 
indefinable presence of something which wakens 



48 ST. olave's. 

from our sleeping hearts that which is best and 
holiest. There are homes in this land of ours, 
more hallowed by the lofty, unconscious, ever- 
present influence of Christian character, more 
enshrined by the benediction of Him whose altar 
is the faithful heart, more instinct with unspoken 
prayers, more fragrant with the incense of charity, 
than many a charch whose marble pavement and 
fretted roof have been made holy ground by a 
bishop's outstretched hands. 

Alice's vain thoughts fell away from her. 
Quick to take on every passing influence, she be- 
came grave, silent, subdued. The shy, reverent 
look stole into her face which always came there 
in the presence of those she could honour and 
trust. It made her seem very beautiful. 

Mr. Bruce was sitting by the table before a pile 
of manuscripts. The music of his Oratorio was 
finished now, and for the last week or two he had 
been writing out the separate voice parts for the 
singers in London who had undertaken its first 
performance. Janet was kneeling by his side ; he 
was trying to instruct her how to copy out the 
parts. She had no taste for music ; but if loving 
patience could accomplish the task, she had enough 



49 

of that and to spare. She looked very bewildered 
though, as her brother explained to her the various 
terms, the unmeaning signs and foreign expressions 
which had to be used. 

Alice saw at a glance what was needed, and, 
without waiting to get through any previous hand- 
shakings or inquiries, proftered assistance. 

" Ah, Mr. Bruce, let me take some of these, and 
copy them out for you. I have nothing to do now, 
and I should be so glad to help you.^^ 

David looked up. Just the frank, eager, girlish 
face met him which had bent over those musty old 
folios in the organ pew, and the little hands were 
outstretched as if restless for something to do. 

" You never heard me come in, did you ? you 
and Miss Bruce were so busy over your papers, 
and I didnH have to ring the bell because Tibbie 
was in the hall. How is that arm of yours V she 
continued, as she fluttered down to a foot-stool 
beside him and laid her hand with a gentle cling- 
ing touch upon his, which was in a sling. Her 
fingers felt cool, and soft, and velvety, like young 
geranium leaves which children rub against their 
cheeks, and there was that pretty half-pitying, 
half- wistful look in her face. 

VOL. II. E 



50 

" It^s only a sprain/' David replied, ^' and T 
suppose it is going on well enough, but the sur- 
geon says I must not go near the organ again for a 
month at the least, so I had to send to the Deanery 
and ask them to provide a substitute. Have you 
been at the prayers this morning ?" 

" Yes, indeed, and a marvellous performance it 
was. I assure you Benjie's antics were nothing 
in comparison," and Alice laughed outright at 
the remembrance of it. 

'' Ah," said Da^dd, playing with the little 
fingers that still rested on his arm, '' my organ is 
frisky vrith any one who does not know how to 
manage it. It wants humouring, and likes to have 
its own way A^ery much." 

" It got its own way this morning, at any rate. 
The music reminded me of a kitten walking over the 
keys of a piano. But they only got so far as the 
' Venite,' and then the Dean sent up a message, and 
we had no more of it." 

" A good riddance. I wonder who it was that 
played." 

"Some conceited elf no doubt — but William 
TelFs bow was too much for him. It will make 
the Dean and Chapter value your services all the 



51 

morej Mr. Bmce ; and now tell me what I can 
do with this music?'' And Alice got up and 
began to turn over the loose sheets which were 
lying in confusion upon the table. 

'' Are you sure you understand copying ? you 
know a few false notes may blast my reputa- 
tion and drift me away into the waste howl- 
ing wilderness of oblivion/' said David mer- 
rily. Alice's presence made him feel gay-hearted 
again. 

"I think you may trust me/' she answered. 
'^ I used sometimes to copy for the organist we 
had before your time ; he was my music master^ 
and he told me a professional could not have 
done it better. You know/' she added^ ^^ there 
is no one here to sing my praises for me^ 
so I am obliged to sound them myself." 

David set her to work upon a solo for a 
soprano voice. He did not tell her so^ but it had 
been composed for her, and her own clear, pure, 
silvery tones had been ringing in his ears whilst he 
wrote it. He soon perceived from her manner of 
setting about the copying, that she was quite 
up to the mark in whaf she had undertaken. Th( re 
was a beautiful daintiness and neatness in all 



E li 



LIBRARY ^ ^. 

MNIV/FRSITY OF llUNiJ^!^ 



52 ST. olave's. 

that Alice did, together with a sort of fairy-like 
precision and dexterity. 

" I knew very well you didnH think I could do 
it/' she said; in reply to some remark David Bruce 
made as he bent over her, and watched her deft 
fingers gliding along the page. '' But I am cleverer 
than you thought. I learned how to copy music a 
longtime ago.'' 

'' Who taught you ?" 

" An old Scotchman who lived in the College 
Yard here, and got a living^by doing the copying 
for the Minster. He was a queer funny old 
stick of a man, and had once been precentor of 
the Kirk of Auchterarder." 

^^ Where ?" said David, looking at her cu- 
riously. 

'< At Auchterarder, a town in Scotland. Don't 
you know it, it is on the road from Edinburgh to 
Perth." 

" Yes, I know it well enough," David replied, 
^* I suppose most Scotch folks ken Auchterarder ; 
but I asked you to repeat it because I wanted 
to hear youi' pronunciation of the word. Say it 
again." 

She said it again, giving with complete northern 



53 

accent the imspellable, German-like click of tlie 
" cli/^ and the rich, round, ringing sound of the 

" Miss Grey has the genuine Caledonian speech, 
hasnH she, Janet? A veritable citizen of Auld 
Reekie could not say that word better/' 

Mrs. Edenall turned sharply round from her 
work, and looked Alice full in the face, but said 
nothing. 

'^ I'm sure you must have Scottish blood in your 
veins,'' David continued. "I never met with an 
English person yet who was able to pronounce the 
name of that place. Let Mrs. Edenall try and yoii 
will soon see the difference." 

Mrs. Edenall tried. She pronounced the 
" ch " as all English people do, as if it had been 
a '^k." She made one or two more attempts, 
and then said impatiently, almost angrily — 

^'No, no, your unmeaning jargon breaks my 
throat. I will not try again.'* 

Then Alice said the word, and the difference 
was perceptible enough. She turned round with 
a merry laugh to triumph over Mrs. Edenall. 

But Mrs. Edenall had left the room. 

*' I don't know, I am sure, that I have any 



54 ST. OLAVE S. 

Scottish blood in my veins. I'll ask Aunt Amiel 
about it. I remember though,, when I was 
learning German^ my master told me I managed 
the gutterals better than most of his pupils, but 
I thought he only told me it to please me. He 
was such a flatterer. He would tell people almost 
anything to make them like him." 

And then they got into a discussion as to the 
truth of the oft-asserted fact that Scottish people 
pronounce the French and German lang^uages 
better than their Southern neighbours. Whilst 
they were in the midst of the argument, Alice 
remembered that possibly Mr. Scrj^mgeour might 
be calling at the Old Lodge that morning, 
according to promise, and she did not want to be 
away when he came. 

^^ I must go now,'' she said, gathering up the 
sheets of music which lay scattered on the table, 
and a roll of manuscript paper. She held out her 
hand to David Bruce to shake hands with him, 
and then remembering that his right hand was 
crippled, she took the other and retained it for a 
while in both of hers. 

"When I have finished copying these, 
I shall come again and again for more 



ST. OLAVE S. 55 

ttntil your wrist is quite well. I am so glad that 
I can lielp you at all.^' 

With these words she fluttered away out of 
the room. When she was gone, all was still and 
quiet again. It was as if from some web of 
sombre texture, one solitary shining streak 
of gold had been suddenly removed. 

David Bruce turned round to the fire, and 
shaded his face with his left hand. Janet, freed 
now from the incubus of the music copying, 
took up her knitting and set to work with quiet 
energy. 

^' What a sunshiny little creature Alice Grey 
is," she said after a while. " I should miss her 
so much if she were to go away from us now. 
Shouldn't you, brother Davie ?" 

No reply. She thought he had gone to sleep, 
for she knew he was very tired. 



56 




CHAPTER V. 

AS anyone called, Masters, whilst I 
have been away?^^ said Alice to? the 
servant when she returned to the 
Old Lodge. 

"No, Miss; only Captain Madden and Mr. 
Fleetwood have left cards. O yes, I beg pardon. 
Miss, Major Conway and Miss Somers called, but 
they did not come in.'* 
" Anyone else ?'' 
"No, Miss, that is all." 

Alice left the music on the hall table and went 
through into the garden, for she wanted some 
flowers to fill the dining-room vases. She had 
been busy all that week thinking about and pre- 



ST. OLAVE^S. 57 

paring for the pic-nic, and they had got into rather 
a disordered state. 

She found plenty of choice amongst the rich 
full-tinted autumn blossoms. Most of the roses 
were gone^ except a few clusters of white ones, 
but there were tall fuchsias with their long 
pendant coral-like bells, some of rich deep 
crimson, some almost white, some pink, with 
^^ petticoats,^^ as Mrs. Marris oddly enough named 
the under petals, of soft bloomy violet. There 
were spikes of iris and clumps of heather, yellow, 
purple and red; and from the hothouse — into 
which, however, the gardener was loth to admit 
her, for he knew well how ruthlessly she spoiled 
its fragrant treasures — from the hothouse, clusters 
of regal geraniums and the pale pink wax-like 
bloom of American hydrangea, with tresses of 
maiden hair, and long green fronds of the 
an tiered fern. From the gables of the Old 
Lodge she gathered broad, clear-cut vine leaves 
and trailing bands of ivy, to make a background 
for the Ijrighter tints of the flowers. 

She soon filled her hat, and then carrying 
them into the Oriel room, tumbled them out in a 
promiscuous heap at the feet of Aunt Auiicl, 



58 

who was sitting in her great easy chair by the 
window. 

Mistress Amiel Grey was failing very fast. 
No one could help noting a perceptible change in 
her appearance between this September morning 
and that warm^ drowsy July afternoon eight 
weeks ago, when she welcomed Janet Bruce in 
this same oriel room. Her face was getting thinner 
and paler, but that was not all. Very often now 
in talking, especially to strangers, she would 
pause, hesitate, forget what she was going to say, 
and then, after a moment or two, start afresh on 
quite a different subject. Once too — it was after 
she had had a severe attack of headache — she 
began to talk to Alice in a vague, rambling way 
about a little child that had been sent to her to be 
brought up. She described it minutely, its looks, 
its pretty winning ways, its sweet temper. Alice 
saw that she was wandering, but humoured her, 
and listened, until at last Aunt Amiel dropped off 
to sleep, and the next day she remembered nothing 
about it. 

This was nearly a fortnight ago. Generally, 
however, she was quite collected, and the physician 
who attended her said tliat with care and quiet- 



ST. OLAVE^S^ 50 

ness she miglit yet live some years. Alice was of 
a happy temperament, not prone to mix the 
troubles of to-morrow with the pleasures of to- 
day, so whilst she tended her aunt with gentle, 
loving care, she put far away from her the thought 
of the time when those tender offices must 
cease, and the kind, sweet old face be seen nx) 
more. 

She fetched a great Parian marble vase out of 
the window, and when she had emptied out its 
faded contents, and put in fresh water, she sat 
down on the carpet by her aunt^s side, and began 
to arrange her fragrant treasures. 

It was an employment after Alice's own heart. 
She had a very accurate eye for form and colour, 
that might be seen by a glance at her own dress, 
which was always so graceful and artistically 
arranged, the colours so well placed and skilfully 
blended. She would spend hours sometimes in 
summer and early autumn time turning her own 
little sitting-room into a perfect bower of greenerie. 
There was a natural grace about her which sorted 
well with flowers, and she was always happiest 
when busy amongst them. 

With practised skill, such as no artist could 



60 ST. OLAVE^S. 

have taught her^ she blended and contrasted 
the tints, and placed each leaf in its natural 
fall. Every now and then she would bend her 
pretty head on one side, to take in the general 
effect, then make some little alteration in the 
arrangement ; moving a crimson fuchsia when it 
came too near a scarlet geranium, putting in a 
deep purple iris to tone down the bright colouring 
of a japonica, parting brilliant shades with a sober 
tinted leaf or two, relieving here and there a mass 
of green with a single pure white rose. Round 
the outside she wove a cornice of vine and ivy 
leaves, with delicate sprays of jasmine to break 
their sharply-pencilled outline, and di'ooping over 
the sides she hung long tendrils of bindweed and 
plumy clusters of fern. Mistress Amiel Grey sat 
in the arm-chair, watching with a pleased, caress- 
ing sort of smile, how the light fingers glided in 
and out through the brilliant mass of colour. 

" Aunt Amiel," she said, plucking out a head 
of scarlet verbena, and putting a white rose in its 
place, ^' what do you think Mr. Bruce told me 
this morning ? — he said he was quite sure I had 
some Scottish blood in my veins, I pronounced 
the names of the places so well. I was telling 



ST. OLAVE^S. 61 

him you know^ about that old man from Auchter- 
arder, who taught me how to copy music /^ 

Aunt Amiel looked disturbed; a shade of 
anxiety passed over her smooth^ placid face^ and 
she said, with the slightest touch of hauteur in her 
voice : — 

r ^' I had rather Mr. Bruce had not mentioned 
anything of the sort to you. It was quite need- 
less to have suggested such an idea, — quite need- 
less. Perhaps some day when you are older " 

Aunt Amiel paused ; there was a loud, fashion- 
able knock at the door. The colour came into 
Alice's face ; she knew who it was, and she began 
to think with dismay of the appearance she must 
present, surrounded by bits of stalk and leaves, 
her hat off, her hair in wild untidiuess, her dress 
disarranged, for she had pressed through a perfect 
thicket of lilac bushes to get to some roses that 
grew over the arbour, and her hands not over 
clean with fingering the gnarled ivy stumps. 
However, it was too late to beat a retreat. The 
visitor, whoever he might be, would have got into 
the hall before she could dash across it and fly 
upstairs into her own room. So there she stood 
in the midst of her horticultural remains, a very 



62 

pretty picture certainly of innocent confusion and 
perplexity. 

Masters threw open the door, and Mr. Scrym- 
geour walked in. Alice's eyes were bent upon the 
floor, but she got a sidelong glance at the 
clearly- chiselled face, and saw that it was turned 
towards herself. Mr. Scrymgeour paid his respects 
with grave courtly deference to Aunt Amiel first, 
and then insisted on shaking hands with Alice, 
who was vainly endeavouring to keep her dirty 
fingers out of sight behind the folds of her dress. 

" We have been transported from Palestine to 
Olympus,^' he w^hispered in the daintiest and most 
silver tones of that magic voice, which had already 
won the hearts of half the Close young ladies. 
" It is no longer Ruth but Flora herself who has 
left the gods and come down to men.'^ 

Alice understood the allusion to Palestine, but 
her classic lore was quite at fault in the matter of 
Olympus ; it might be one of the Sandwich islands 
for anything she knew to the contrary. She 
could find no words to answer him, and just stood 
silent beneath the amused, critical glance of his 
cold eyes, pulling to pieces an unfortunate spray 
of fuchsia, and growing rosier and rosier, until at 



63 

last he made some fui'ther allusion to Aurora 
and the blushes of the morn^ which completely- 
mystified her, and with the bright tears sparkling 
iu her eyes she dashed past him and flew away to 
her own room. 

When she was gone, Mr. Scrymgeour took Mis- 
tress Amiel Grey in hand, and played off his fas- 
cinating conversational powers upon her. He had 
a very winning manner towards elderly people, it 
was so full of courtesy, and a certain high- 
bred respectfulness. Mrs. Grey was not the first 
old lady by very many who had remarked what a 
charming companion Mr. Cuthbert Scrymgeour 
was, and how highly favoured the Archdeacon^s 
widow might consider herself in having her de- 
clining years sustained by a young man of such 
perfect amiability and considerateness. 

''My aunt would have accompanied me this 
morning,^* he said, placing her card in Mrs Grey^s. 
hand, '^ but visitors detained her at home, and I 
could not delay any longer to inquire after Miss 
Grey. I trust the slight misfortune of last even- 
ing has produced no ill effects. Indeed, I need 
scarcely ask the question, her blooming counte- 
nance speaks for itself." 



64 ST. OLAVE^S. 

'^ Alice is quite well, thank you, JMr. Scrym- 
geour. I don^t think she is easily frightened by 
anything. Indeed she appears to have enjoyed 
the ride home exceedingly, and I must express my 
thanks to you again for taking charge of her. I 
am indebted to you very much." 

There was a quiet courtliness in Mistress Amiel 
Grey's manner as she said this, a touch of that 
measured precision that characterized the gentle- 
woman of fifty years ago, and which is now com- 
pletely swamped in the free and easy intercourse 
of social life. 

" Pleasant old lady," thought Mr. Cuthbert to 
himself; '*^ seems to belong to the last century 
school of manners. Suppose she'll be churchy, 
like most of the Close folks ; we'll try that tfack." 
And upon this hypothesis," Mrs. Grey's visitor 
drew her out into a conversation touching the 
ordination which was to be held at the Cathe- 
dral in the course of a few weeks ; and from that 
to priest's orders and church preferment and so 
on. 

Mr. Scrymgeour was correct in his supposition. 
Mistress Amiel Grey was " churchy," that is, she 
had a friendly home-like feeling towards all cc- 



ST. olave's. 65 

clesiastical matters ; most people have sucli a feel- 
ing whose whole life has been spent beneath the 
shadow of Minster towers. The wives and widows 
of Deans or other church dignitaries talk of chap- 
ters and confirmations^ vestments and rubrics^ 
conclaves and convocations^ as naturally as a far- 
mer's wife discusses her baskets of butter^ or a 
cantatrice her sensation songs. 

Mr. Scrymgeour found that he had got upon the 
right tracks and talked of (Cathedral matters with 
as much gravity as if, like one of the St. Olave^s 
rooksj he had lived all his life beneath the battered 
gurgoyles that peered out from the Chapter House 
buttresses. They were in the midst of a very in- 
teresting discussion respecting the proper method 
of intoning the Litany^ Mrs. Grey preferring the 
monotone used by the late Dean_, — in which pre- 
ference Mr. Scrymgeour perfectly agreed, — when 
Alice returned. 

Unlike some young ladies,, who when caught in 
their morning dishabille rush off promiscuously 
and return in the full splendour of afternoon 
toilette, Alice had too much good taste to change 
the simple dress inwhich Mr. Scrymgeour had found 

VOL. 11. F 



66 

her. But she had smoothed her wealth of sunny 
curls, and got the flower stains from her fingersj 
and looked as bright and fresh as a daisy when she 
made her appearance again. The pretty colour 
was warm as ever in her cheeks too_, when Cuthbert 
rose to bring a chair and asked her where she 
would like to sit. 

" Not anywhere,, thank you. I don^t want to sit 
down at all. I must clear away these leaves/' 
she said, looking towards the scattered carpet. Any 
employment which did not oblige her to raise her 
eyes suited Alice best just then. 

^^ I am afraid you will think me sadly untidy, Mr. 
Scrymgeour, but V\e been so busy aU the week, I 
could not arrange my flowers before, and really 
those roses looked as if they were asking some one 
to rob them." 

'^ Like some other roses that I know," he re- 
plied with a meaning glance that quite put to 
flight all poor Alice's little stock of composure, 
and made her glad to stoop down and begm to 
gather up the leaves and stalks to the great detri- 
ment of her newly washed hands. She scarcely 
knew what had come to her ; she never felt in this 
nervous, fluttering, all-overish way when David 



ST. OLAVE^S. 67 

Bruce spoke to her. And yet it was a feeling not 
entirely disagreeable. Nay_, perhaps she would 
not have cared how long she knelt there, listening 
to the gay banter of that musical voice and 
stealing sidelong glances through her thick eye- 
lashes at the splendid face which bent over 
her. 

"I shall not let you do that now/^ said Mr. 
Scrymgeour, ^^ I will gather them up for you. Ah !" 
he continued, picking out a perfumed twig from 
the heap that lay on the carpet, '' here is a bit of 
lemon-scented verbena. My aunt has been sighing 
for one all this summer ; do let me take it home 
for her, will you ?'' 

" No, not that one, Mr. Scrymgeour,^^ said Aunt 
Amiel, " It has been gathered too near the top of 
the tree, and will not grow. Slips should always 
be taken oflP as near the root as possible, and cut 
just above a joint; look, this way,^^ and Mrs. 
Grey showed him what she meant with a bit of 
myrtle that lay near her. 

It was all the same to Mr. Scrymgeour whether 
he talked about the intoning of litanies or tlie 
propagation of slips. Nothing in the conversa- 
tional line came amiss to him. With an air of 

r 2 



68 ST. OLAVE^S. 

profound interest he turned to Mrs. Grey and 
received from her a long lesson in the setting of 
verbena plants. One might have imagined, from 
the earnestness with which he listened, that he 
looked forward to obtaining his livelihood as a 
nursery gardener. 

It was Cuthbert Scrymgeour's way to exhibit 
the semblance of deep interest in any subject that 
was brought before him. Much of his popularity 
he doubtless owed to this elastic power of accom- 
modation. People like to feel that they are being 
listened to and attended to with manifest deference. 
It pleases their vanity, or if, like Mistress Amiel 
Grey, they have no vanity, it pleases their bene- 
volence to think that they are imparting instruction 
and amusement. Cuthbert knew this, and acted 
accordingly. Like an India-rubber band he ex- 
panded and contracted himself to suit all sizes and 
circumstances. 

Some men have a fixed, unalterable purpose in 
their characters. They are like crown Imperials, 
shooting up erect, skywards, putting out a leaf 
now and then by tlie way, which is fair and plea- 
sant to look upon ; but the main life and energy 
of the plant climbs steadily upwards, until at last 



69 

it blooms out into one glorious coronal of golden 
flowers, the pride and splendo^ir of tlie garden. 
And some men are like annuals whicli come to 
perfection in a week or two, and die when a shower 
of rain or over much sunshine beats upon them ; 
— trim, dainty, compact little plants, blossoming in 
the carefully-sheltered flower-beds of society, 
bristling all over with leaves and buds, ready to 
put out a flower here and there and everywhere 
just as may be most convenient, and collapsing at 
last, when the little bit of root has withered, into 
a shapeless tissue of dry fibre. Yet, ask any lady 
florist which she likes best, and the tiny annual is 
sure to have the preference. The imperial flower, 
with its crown royal and affluence of vitality, is 
quite out of her line. 

Cuthbert Scrymgeour, B.A., belonged to the 
" early July annual ^' tribe of human plants. Like 
certain vegetable productions in the garden of 
Eden, he was pleasant to the eye, and also, in a 
figurative sense, good for food, so long as the 
tickling of the palate and not the sustentation of 
life was the end to be answered by partaking. He 
could be all things to all men. He was quick to 
discern character, and as quick to adapt himself to 



70 ST. OLAVE^S. 

it if need be. Witli a young girl he could discuss 
songs and fancy-work ; with a learned divine the 
doctrines of predestination and free-will. His 
fellow-students at Oxford found him au fait on the 
subject of fancy ties ; the professors found him 
equally accessible in Latin roots and equations. 
He could talk by the half hour to a country 
squire of hounds and harriers, and then go and 
gossip with my lady on the beauties of a new 
Berlin wool pattern. He would quote sonnets — 
dozens of them — to a sighing nymph "\\'ho thought 
herself misunderstood and unappreciated, sympa- 
thize with her yearnings and aspirations until she 
was ready to throw herself into his arms in an 
ecstacy of gratitude, and before an hour had 
passed he would be arranging bets with a fast 
young lady who voted him a '' perfect brick of a 
fellow.'^ 

What he proposed this morning was to make 
himself agreeable to Mistress Amiel Grey, and he 
did it so effectually that when, after sitting nearly 
an hour with the old lady, he rose to depart, she 
was quite loth to let him go, and pressed him 
kindly to repeat his call. 

^' Alice,^' she continued, as he left the room. 



71 

^^ you will take Mr. Scrymgeour into the garden 
and gather Mm two or tkree slips of that lemon- 
scented verbena, and then^ perhaps^ he would like 
to go through the greenhouses; the geraniums 
and heaths are very fine just now, Frank tells 
me." 

Of course Mr. Scrymgeour would be delighted. 
He had a perfect passion for flowers, they 
had been his delight ever since he was a boy ; 
indeed, nothing was such a treat to him as a walk 
through a garden, especially such a garden as that 
which surrounded the Old Lodge — together with 
a great deal more to the same effect. 

Alice led the way. Whether the verbena slips 
were fractious and refused with due filial affection 
to part from the parent stem, or whether the 
hothouse, with its endless variety of tints and per- 
fumes, beguiled them into oblivion of time and 
tide, or whether they loitered to handle and taste 
the purple clusters of the vinery, or whether Alice 
lost herself and her companion too in the tangled 
beech-bound alleys of the Old Lodge garden, this 
chronicle sayeth not ; but certainly a full hour 
passed after they had bidden farewell to Aunt 
Amiel, before Mr. Cuthbert Scrymgeour got fairly 



72 



ST. OLAVE S. 



starte d home, or Alice found her way back again 
to the scattered leaves and the oriel room. 

David Bruce^s music remained in statu quo all 
that day. 



73 



' A^iiiiiit 



CHAPTER VI. 

SUPPOSE she can line a fellow's pockets 
nicely_, Aunt/^ 

"My dear Cutlibert^ I am not ac- 
quainted with Miss Grey^s capabilities as a 
sempstress. I have no doubt_, however, that in 
addition to the usual accomplishments imparted 
to her sex, Mrs. Amiel Grey would devote special 
attention to the more useful branches of feminine 
education ; and if I were asked to give my opinion, 
I should say that a due amount of proficiency in 
needlework, both fancy and plain, is an indispen- 
sable requisite in every young lady of birth and 
breeding." 

Mrs. Scrymgeour always talked in paragraphs. 



74 ST. OLAYE^S. 

as if her utterances were intended to be set up in 
type and handed down to posterity by means of the 
printing press. 

Cuthbert Scrymgeour tweaked his whiskers im- 
patiently, and then to atone for his rudeness, 
stroked them down with his ringed fingers. 

"Now Aunt/^ he said, " what^s the use of 
pretending you don^t understand what a fellow 
means ; you canH expect me to clip my words 
when I^m talking to you, as if the Dean and 
Chapter were at my elbow. About the young 
lady's figure, that's what I mean."" 

" I suppose,"" continued the Archdeacon's 
widow in the same precise measured tones, " I 
suppose you have already had sufficient oppor- 
tunity of satisfying yourself as regards that matter. 
Miss Grey, you are aware, is not tall, but she is 
exceedingly well-made and very graceful in her 
carriage. I might add that a slight accession of 
dignity would, in my opinion, be considered an 
improvement." 

Cuthbert flung himself out of his seat and 
strode up and down the long dining-room of 
Chapter Court several times before he vouchsafed 
an answer. At last he drew up abruptly in front 
of his aunt. 



ST. OLATE^S. 75 

^^Take care/' she said quietly, ^^you are 
treading on my work ; '^ and slie gathered away 
the crimson velvet altar-cloth — it was nearly 
finished now — from the tip of the Wellington 
boot which had come into alarming proximity 
to it. 

'^ Confound your work/^ answered the amiable 
Cuthbert, '^ and you too/^ he added in a whisper. 
^^I want to know how much money the young 
lady is likely to have. There now, can you 
understand that ? I believe it is what people call 
plain English. '^ 

"Mrs. Amiel Grey has a very handsome 
annuity from an assurance effected by the late 
Dean, which ceases upon her death. What her 
own private property amounts to, I am not in a 
position to say. The Old Lodge, together with 
the estate at Norlands belongs to herself, as also 
one or two houses in the High Street. Mrs. 
Grey is reserved in discussing her pecuniary 
matters, especially in so far as her niece is con- 
nected with them, and, therefore, I have not been 
able to arrive at a perfectly accurate conclusion 
respecting Alice Grey's prospects. I have every 
reason to believe, however, and I think I may 



76 ST. OLAVE^S. 

authorize you in acting according to that supposi- 
tion^ that Miss Grey will be her aunt^s sole 
heiress/' 

Mrs. Scrymgeour paused to collect her thoughts 
after this lengthy compository eiFort. Most 
authors would have done the same. 

" Good gracious, aunt/' said Cuthbert, '' your 
sentences are 'like the streets of St. Olave's, it 
always takes two people to see from one end to 
the other of them." 

Mrs. Scrymgeour took no notice of this com- 
pliment, but went on counting the threads of the 
monogram she was copying. Under certain cir- 
cumstances she was not easily provoked. Cuth- 
bert Scrymgeour, B.A., graduate of Magdalen 
College, Oxford, and nephew of the late Arch- 
deacon Scrymgeour, was the sole remaining prop 
round which the creepers of her ambition found 
room to twine. Hereafter she hoped to shine in 
the beams of his reflected dignity, as she had for- 
merly expanded in those of her late husband. 
Cuthbert was getting on well iu his profession. 
Already he was ordained to a curacy — not anything 
very magnificent certainly, but from that she 
hoped ere long to see him emerge into a vicar- 



77 

choral at the Cathedral, then he would become a 
minor canon, next a canon-resident, then a pre- 
bend, then an archdeacon : nay, the far-reaching 
vision of fond ecclesiastical hope overleaped time 
and distance, and beheld this latest scion of the 
Scrymgeour family in all the glory of satin 
cassock and lawn sleeves, dispensing the benedic- 
tion from beneath the richly-carved and fretted 
canopy of the Bishop^ s chair of state. 

These ambitious views had recently received new 
impetus from an idea which had suggested itself 
to the mind of Mrs. Scrymgeour of bringing about 
a matrimonial alliance between her nephew and 
Alice Grey. The late Dean had had considerable 
political influence. Mistress Amiel Grey herself 
had connexions in the Government, whose in- 
terest might be vastly beneficial in an ecclesias- 
tical point of view ; and if the co-operation of these 
could be secured, Mr. Scrymgeour's speedy pre- 
ferment was a matter of certainty. She watched, 
therefore, with quite maternal interest, and facili- 
tated as much as possible her nephew^s attentions 
at the Old Lodge. 

Her statement with regard to Miss Grey's 
pecuniary affairs produced a soothing effect. 



78 

Cuthbert subsided into liis cbair^ and meditated 
blandly on his polished boots. The Scrymgeonrs 
had always been remarkable for such exquisite 
hands and feet,, and all the physical excellences 
of his race appeared to have reached their per- 
fection in the person of this its last represen- 
tative. 

^^ She^s a neat girl/^ he said^ after a pause, " a 
very neat girl, and, to tell you the truth, Aunt, I 
have a notion she doesn't dislike me.'' 

" Of course not," replied his aunt ; '^ your per- 
sonal appearance, together with numerous social 
advantages which it is needless to specify, altoge- 
ther preclude the possibility of such a state of mind 
on the part of any young lady towards whom yon 
think it advisable to manifest a preference ; and I 
am convinced that you have only to be more 
marked in your attentions towards Miss Grey, 
who is, as you remark, exceedingly prepossessing, 
to ensure a favourable result." 

Mrs. Scrymgeour paused to take a fresh 
needleful of gold thread, and then continued — 

^^ Still, however, Cuthbert^ I should be guilty of 
an unpardonable oversight of those principles 
that have influenced my conduct during the 



79 

whole of my residence in St. Olave^s^ and in which 
I am proud to say I was always supported by your 
late esteemed uncle^ did I neglect to remind you 
that there are other qualities^ apart from the evan- 
escent charms of figure and complexion, that are 
indispensable to any matrimonial alliance; and 
without which wealth and beauty would entirely 
fail to win my cordial acquiescence/^ 

Of course, anyone might have expected that 
after this promising prologue, Mrs. Scrymgeour 
would at once launch forth into a neat little exhor- 
tation on moral character, purity of thought and 
life, diligence, courtesy, charity, and other mental 
qualifications which are usually deemed desirable 
in the help-meet of one who has the cure of souls 
committed to him. But Mrs. Scrymgeour did 
nothing of the sort. 

^' Descent, my dear Cuthbert,^^ she continued, in 
the tone of one who is enunciating a weighty 
axiom, " aristocratic descent, good blood and 
high-breeding, are indispensable to a clergyman's 
wife. Without these your position would be 
nothing, absolutely nothing. Remember, Cuth- 
bert, that the clergy, especially in and about St. 
Olave's, mix with the highest ranks of society, and 



80 ST. olave's. 

it would wound me more than I can express,, were 
I to see you united with one who would not 
by her own family connexions and unblemished 
pedigree^ fully sustain herself amongst that circle 
in which your wife will be placed/'' 

'' I fancy the little girl is tolerably well con- 
nectedj isnH she ? I always understood the Greys 
came of a good stock.^^ 

^^ Exactly so; and that is why your views with 
regard to her meet with my cordial approbation. 
There is also one other subject that I may men- 
tion as investing the proposed alliance with addi- 
tional eligibility. You are aware that the late 
Dean Grey had connections in the Government, 
and Mistress Amiel Grey still retains the interest 
which he possessed in that direction. You will 
perceive, without further explanation on my part, to 
what I refer/^ And then Mrs. Scrymgeour en- 
tered into the ecclesiastical bearings of the subject. 

" Hold hard there, Aunt,^^ said Cuthbert, in- 
terrupting her in the midst of an elaborate period, 
and looking out thi'ough the tall, narrow window 
into the sunshiny Close, ^^ who is that splendid 
woman just going past the Residence, that one, I 
mean, in the black cloak V 



81 

" If you refer to the tall lady in the silk dress, 
her name is Edenall/' 

'^'^Jove, what a majestic creature! Zenobia 
herself couldnH match that tread — it is perfectly 
imperial ; and what a stately carriage ! I didn't 
think the St. Olave's workshops could turn out such 
a first-rate article. What is she_, aunt ?" 

'^ I am not acquainted with her. She brought 
no introductions when she came to the place, and 
therefore none of the Close families have called 
upon her. She lives with the Bruces at West- 
wood, — lodges with them, in fact. I should not have 
minded leaving a card, as I fancy from her manners 
she is a person of family, but such an attention 
would have involved me with the Bruces, and I 
have set my face against visiting them until their 
antecedents are more satisfactorily ascertained. 
Indiscriminate politeness is my abhorrence." 

^^ I suppose that was the male Bruce I took 
the shine out of the other night — a shaggy sort 
of animal that looked as if he might have gone 
to a dancing-school with the bear in the Zoological 
Gardens. Miss Grey introduced him to me as if 
he was quite up to the mark, but I didn't feel 
exactly disposed to do the polite." 

VOL II. G 



82 ST. OLAVE^S. 

" Of course not. I am very glad, Cuthbert, 
you have a proper sense of what is due to your 
position. That is the great drawback to Miss 
Grey^s character. She is so exceedingly kind- 
hearted, not to use a harsher expression, that she 
quite loses sight of the respect due to her station. 
Indeed I believe I am correct in saying that she 
is on intimate terms with the Westwood people, 
goes in at all hours of the day, and allows them to 
feel quite at home with her." 

^^ We must get her cured of that failing. 
What kind of a specimen is the female Bruce ? — 
stout elderly individual, I presume, with curl-papers 
and no crinoline, goes in for consistency and sick 
visiting ; that style of thing you know, eh ?" 

" My dear Cuthbert," said Mrs. Scrymgeour 
quietly ; she was determined to preserve her equa- 
nimity this morning at any rate ; '^ I wish I could 
impress upon you the advisability of adopting a 
more judicious style of phraseology. It is really 
not respectful; the manner in which you express 
yourself, and I am convinced will seriously mar 
your chances of preferment." 

'' Gently, gently, Aunt," and Cuthbert balanced 
himself on tlie hind -legs of his chair to get a part- 



ST. OLAVE^S. 83 

ing glance at Mrs. Edenall^ who was disappearing 
behind the porch of the Residence,, " donH be so 
hard upon a fellow. Staring patterns are all the 
rage now you know^ and there^s no harm in clothing 
one^s ideas in plaids and stripes by way of a 
change. You really mustn^t expect me to hold 
out like a manuscript homily .^^ 

" I donH expect you to do anything unreason- 
able^ my dear Cuthbert. I desire your best in- 
terestSj and I feel assured in my own mind that 
Mistress Amiel Grey will not approve that style 
of conversation. Do be more clerical.^^ 

^^ Trust me, Aunt. I can fit the old lady like a 
glove, and the young one too, bless her sweet little 
apple-blossom face. And by the way, to come back 
to the old subject again, suppose you ask her down 
here some of these days, and get a few people to 
meet her ; something of a crush in a small way, 
you know. I should like uncommonly to see how 
she manages at a quadrille party ; fancy she isnH 
quite got up enough for that style of thing — too 
much in the innocent blue sash and w hite pinafore 
line.^^ 

" You have expressed my own sentiments, Cuth- 
bert, though not in the language I should have 

g2 



84 

chosen. Miss Grey, I must confess, is at present 
slightly wanting in tone and that dignity of man- 
ner which is so indispensable to the maintenance 
of a position amongst the Close families. But you 
are aware that she has not yet been introduced 
into society, and therefore labours under disad- 
vantages ; I have no doubt, when she has gone 
through a few parties here and at the Deanery and 
Residence, she will quite drop that school-girl free- 
dom of speech and deportment, and become all 
that we could desire. I approve your idea, Cuth- 
bert, and will see that it is carried out when a suit- 
able opportunity offers." 

" That's right. Aunt, and now I^m off. I pro- 
mised Madden I would stroll to the barracks 
with him and see the men on parade this morn- 
ing. Grace sent a message to know if I would 
do the prayers for him at the Minster, but one 
canH be always at it, so I declined." 

Mr. Scrymgeour brought his chair down again 
on all-fours, with a thimip that made the archi- 
diaconal cat put herself into a posture of defiance, 
and then he sauntered away, whistling the first 
stave of *' Rosa Lee." 

'Tis aunt looked aggrieved. 



85 

'^Oh, confound it, I forgot. It was a lapsvs 
^ lingua, Aunt, you know ; I really can^t get into 
the way of whistling psalm tunes. By-the-bye/' 
lie said, turning back again, after lie had got 
nearly half-way across the hall, '^'^don^t you let 
it out to Miss Grey that I played the organ at 
the Cathedral last Friday. Between you and me, 
Aunt, I made a bit of a hash of it ; the bellows 
man didn^t work properly, or something, and 
the Dean sent up a message for me to stop. Of 
course, slie^ll never know who it was if you don^t 
tell her.^^ 

His aunt promised, and then Cuthbert Scrym- 
geour lighted his cigar and strolled down the 
barrack road. 

DonH follow him, courteous reader, with over 
bitter animadversions, as he goes crushing the 
red chesnut leaves under his patent-leather boots, 
his felt hat poised gracefully on the summit of 
his Hyperion locks, his silken whiskers floating 
gently to and fro, like plumes of river weed under ..i^ ^"^ 
an ebbing tide. It is the misfortune of story- 
books that they admit us into the private life of 
our heroes and heroines, and betray, now and 
then, the creaking of the machinery which moves 



86 

this complex social system. Every liome cannot, 
like that of Westwood, bear the light of truth to 
flash bravely and clearly upon it. All his friends 
thought the Rev. Cuthbert Scrymgeour a charm- 
ing young man — a very charming young man. 
You are expected to endorse that opinion^ and it 
will be a great pity if any little chance expres- 
sions which have fallen from his lips during the 
course of this chapter, should tilt him from the 
pinnacle of your esteem. 

Let us trust human nature whilst we can ; 
when we can trust no longer, let us pity; but, 
until we are absolutely driven to it, don^t let us 
despise those with whom we have been made to 
share a common brotherhood. 

Cuthbert Scrymgeour is the type of a class 
which will be found in the Church/so long as its 
pulpits are open to men who enter them for the 
sake of the social rank and status that holy 
orders give — a class which lessiens not, but rather 
increases, with that frantic rage for ^^respecta- 
bility^' which characterizes the present day. So 
long as shallowness and frivolity, garbed in a 
silken cassock and white cravat, take rank in 
the best circles of societv, men like Cuthbert 



87 

Scrymgeour will be found, marring less by tlieir 
doctrines than tlieir manner of life, that standard 
of national character which the Church seeks to 
teach. Most cathedral cities — for it is in these that 
social status finds its reverent worshippers — fur- 
nish one or more of these dilettante divines ; men 
more at home in the drawing-room than the pulpit, 
the boudoir than the reading-desk. And if this 
delineation of the amiable Cuthbert^s character 
appears harsh and uncharitable, let it be remem- 
bered that he comes here, not as a specimen of 
his brotherhood — than whom there exists not a 
nobler class of men — but rather as a type of the 
excrescences which may grow out from even the 
most perfectly-organized institutions. 



88 



CHAPTER VII. 



^kBb8 HE reapers were binding their sheaves, 
WlBfflS and the heavily-laden corn waggons 
^ttS|| S slowly creeping along over tlie brown 
stubble fields^ when David Bruce set 
out from Norlands that seventh of September even- 
ing. The grey fogs of November had rotted away 
the last withered leaf, and early winter frosts 
crisped all the meadows round St. Olave's^ before^ 
wrapped in his plaid and leaning wearily on Janet^s 
shoulder, he was able to pace up and down 
Westwood lane. 

His arm had soon got strong again, much 
sooner than the doctor expected, but the 
chill which he had taken in coming home 
through that drenching rain, settled into a slow 



ST. OLAVE^S. 89 

fever which lasted many weeks, and had well nigh 
worn the life out of him. As soon as Janet knew 
the nature of his illness, she told Mrs Edenall, ex- 
pecting that she would either leave them at once 
or go to temporary lodgings in St. Olave^s. But 
to her surprise, Mrs. Edenall preferred remaining 
at Westwood. 

'' Let me stay," she said quietly, and with more 
tenderness in her voice than Janet had ever heard 
before ; " there is nothing for me to be afraid of, 
and I may be of use to you ;" and then she added 
half shyly, and as if ashamed of the friendly feeling 
which the words implied — 

''You have always been, very kind to me, al- 
though sometimes I have not treated you well. I 
should not like to leave you now that you are in 
trouble.'^ 

And, indeed, since the time of that pic-nic, there 
had come a change over Mrs Edenall. She was 
no longer so exceedingly cold and careless and 
haughty. She had lost, except just now and then, 
that fitful impetuous way, that almost imperious 
bearing, which, although they never told her so, 
had often sorely tried the Westwood people. 
There had come into her face a sort of restful 



90 

look_, which, even though it might be the rest of 
hopelessness, was better than the icy pride that 
used to reign there. 

So she stayed. For many weeks Janet scarcely 
left her brother^s bedside except for intervals of 
rest and refreshment. All that was needed 
she did for him. The doctor said his life de- 
pended entirely upon careful nursing, so day 
by day and night by night she tended him until 
her face became almost as pale and wan as his. 

It was not to be idle that Mrs. Edenall re- 
mained at Westwood. Of her own accord she 
took up the little household duties that Miss 
Bruce had been accustomed to manage, and la- 
boured through them patiently and unweariedly, 
with such skill as she could command. And it was 
easy to see that the work was strange enough to 
her. Except for thinking of the need which 
prompted her, it would have been almost amusing 
to watch this proud creature, with her regal step and> 
empress-like ways, meekly learning of the old 
Scotch servant how to make herself useful; 
and with the humihty of a little child putting 
her hand to anything that might help to take the 
burden of daily care from Janet^s mind. Her 



ST. olave's. 91 

human love seemed to have in it the element of 
that other and diviner love^ that sees neither 
meanness nor insignificance in any duty taken up 
and hallowed by the incense of pure motive with 
which it is offered. 

So little by little these two women came nearer to 
each otherj drawn by that sorrow which in its great 
bitterness reached only one. The morning greet- 
ing became more kind, the nightly farewell, once 
so formal, tender and faithful. Sometimes, when 
Janet was utterly overborne with weariness, Mrs. 
Edenall would sooth her in a quiet motherlike way, 
unconsciously betraying, by chance look or gesture, 
the infinite depth of feeling which lay beneath 
that outward crust of habit. Or she would make 
her lie down on the sofa, and then mui-mur in that 
rich voice of hers, snatches of SAveet strength- 
ening poetry, the long-ago speech of those who 
had suffered and been strong, or perchance the 
grand calm words of Him who spake as never man 
spake, until the weary look died off from Janet^s 
face and-she fell into peaceful sleep. 

In time of happiness people may sunder far and 
wide, but it cannot be so when death^s shadow 
falls upon the home. Hands that never met be- 



92 ST. OLAVE^S. 

fore^ grope for each other in the clark_, and their 
clasp is strangely comforting. In sorrow we must 
stand together or we cannot stand at aU. Often it 
is to teach us this, only this, that the Angel comes. 

Day by day the household at Westwood grew 
quieter and quieter. Tibbie no longer crooned 
through the lilting Scotch ballads with which she 
had been used to beguile her long spells of scour- 
ing and sweeping, but crept stealthily about 
with unshod feet over the stone floors, and a 
dree, saddening look on her honest bro^ATi face. 
There was no more any music to wile away the 
lengthening autumn evenings ; for the dust had 
gathered thickly on the chant books and organ 
voluntaries which lay heaped up against the piano, 
and all David^s oratorio manuscripts remained un- 
touched on the little corner table where he had 
laid them that 'morning when Alice Grey called. 

" It is impossible yet to say how the case will 
end, we must wait patiently,^^ was Dr. Green wood^s 
reply, as day after day Janet^s pale face was lifted 
to him for one ray of hope or comfort. " The 
crisis will soon be here; then a few hours will 
decide it all." And so the time wore on. 

It was not until about a week after the conver- 



ST. OLAVE^S. 93 

sation recorded in the last chapter, that Alice 
bethought herself of the promise she had made to 
David Bruce, and set to work in good earnest upon 
his music. Once begun, she kept steadily on 
until it was finished, and then set off to West- 
wood for a fresh supply. 

Of late, hopes brighter and more dazzling than 
those which belonged to the quiet home of the 
Bruces, had been crowding her life. Still, be- 
neath them all the old friendship lived on, for 
Alice was one who, though she might for awhile 
forget, could not easily forsake those who cared 
for her. The thought of seeing David Bruce again, 
and having a long talk with him in that quiet 
parlom", he sitting in his great arm-chair, she on 
a cushion at his feet, as her custom was, seemed 
very pleasant. Ever since that evening, five 
months ago now, when she had knelt by his side, 
and felt him speak to her through the might of 
his grand music, he had been to her what no one 
else could ever be. When they were together, 
strength seemed to pass from his soul to hers. It 
was as if the richness of his nature over- 
flowing, filled her own, and lifted her to a higher 
standing-place. Alice, perhaps, like most other 



94 

impulsive people^ had a good deal of magnetism in 
her composition, and a character of great verve 
and power swayed her irresistibly. Had this in- 
fluence been exercised by a bad man it would have 
cursed her life ; she would have been like those 
ill-fated creatures of whom we read, whose will is 
absorbed, and whose whole power of action is con- 
trolled by the absolute despotism of some one 
between whom and themselves a subtle magnetic 
current is continually passing. Exercised, how- 
ever, by a noble true man, it became to her a bene- 
diction, the one great rest and stay of her life. His 
influence for the present stood to her in place of 
that other Eternal Power which is the only sure 
strength of human souls. And far away down in 
her heart, past all its little weaknesses and frivoli- 
ties, and idle girlish fancies, there lay, as a strong 
foundation on which something worthier might 
hereafter be raised, a never- wavering faith in the 
truth and goodness of this friend, this David 
Bruce who had been so kind to her. So long as 
this faith lasted, Alice could not sink into utter 
weakness and inanity. 

It was the thought of pleasant meeting and 
still pleasanter heart to heart talk, that brightened 



ST. OLAVE^S. 95 

Alice's face^, and brought up tlie deep quiet light 
which shone in her eyes as she went tripping along 
Westwood Lane in the sunshine of that autumn 
afternoon. Robins chirped merrily in the hedges, 
those great undipped bramble hedges whose mis- 
shapen branches held such purple store of wealth 
for the little blackberry gatherers from St. Olave^s. 
The golden sunlight came sidling and twinkling 
through the thinning branches of the chesnut 
trees, and then its rays played hide-and-seek 
among the piles of browning leaves that lay on the 
road. And these same leaves, as Alice danced 
over them, crackled under her feet with a crisp, 
merry sound, pleasant enough for one to whom as 
yet the autumn time brought no dim and worn- 
out memories. 

" Is Mr. Bruce in ? " said Alice, as Tibbie 
opened the door. 

'^Ou, ay, lassie, an' gin he'll ever gang oot 
mair till they carry him intill the auld kirk yard 
yonder, is mair nor I can tell." 

Alice's bright face faded, and the roll of music 
which she held in her hand fell to the ground. 
Tibbie picked it up with a whispered '' Hush, yc 
mun aye be still the noo." 



96 ST. OLAVE^S. 

^'Oh, Tibbie^ what is the matter? Is Mr. 
Bruce ill ? No one ever told me about it/' 

'^ An^ wha M be like to tell ye when there's 
naebody in a' the toon cares for him gin he lives 
or dees ? He's just wearin' awa' in the sickness^ 
and lassie ye're the first that's come to speer for 
him. Come yer ways ben^ ye'll no mak' a 
blatter i' the hoose/' and Tibbie^ to whom the 
sight of Alice's face^ even in its paleness, was as a 
beam of sunshine, led the way into the keeping 
room. 

Mrs. Edenall was there, mending some linen 
which had come home from the wash. Was it a 
dim, misty notion working up in her mind of 
penance, as well as the wish to help Janet — 
penance not only for that lately past coldness and 
indifference, but for some long-ago and deeper 
wrong, which made her choose the very employ- 
ment of all others most distasteful ? The room had 
a dreary look. It was exquisitely neat, — notliing 
at Westwood was ever otherwise than neat ; but 
there was an eerie stillness about it, a sort of 
shadow from the darkening wing of death that 
made Alice's heart beat faster as she crossed the 
threshold. 



ST. olave's. 97 

She walked straight to Mrs. Edenall_, and_, stoop- 
ing down, took her two hands in hers, and looked 
eagerly into that passionless face, over which at 
last some faint warmth of human love and sym- 
pathy had passed. 

" Tell me about Mr. Bruce.'' 

That was all she said. No pause for measui-ed 
greeting; no time for the pleasant conventions 
of sociality ; no room for anything but that short 
sharp question. What a different meeting it was 
from the last that had chanced between the two in 
that same room. 

'^ Mr. Bruce is very ill, very ill indeed." 

" And nobody told me, and I thought he was 
getting well all the time,'' sobbed the young girl, 
hiding her face in the folds of Mrs. Edenall's 
dress. " But he won't die — tell me, you are quite 
sure he won't die. Only say that." And Alice 
trembled from head to foot, trembled so that Mrs. 
Edenall put her arm over her or she would have 
fallen to the ground. 

Some women — ay, and some young girls too — 
have the warrior's mail and the hero's heart be- 
neath the flowing robes of their calm, gracious 

VOL. II. H 



98 ST. OLAVE^S. 

womanliness. They can stand firmly at the 
cannon mouth of some pending inevitable doom^ 
and wait with a certain grave stillness the 
fatal ball which parts asunder soul and body^ life 
and hope. No quiver,, not even the moving of a 
muscle or the tremor of an eyelid, has leave to 
break their girded peace. And, if death comes, is 
it not an old story that dying is ofttimes easier 
than living ? 

But Alice Grey could do none of this. All that 
was in her of joy or passion, pain or fear, came to 
the surface, and her whole heart gushed out in that 
one speech — " Tell me, you are quite sure he wont 
die.^^ 

'^ God knows, Alice/^ Mrs. Edenall had soon 
learned to drop the formal Miss Grey, and take 
hold of Alice's simple Christian name. '^ God 
knows ; we don't. We must hope for the best. 
But he is very ill.'' 

''What is the matter with him ?" 

" The doctor says it is a slow fever. He tells 
us no more than that." 

Alice shivered. 

" You are afraid,^' said Mrs. Edenall ; " some 
people are very nervous about illness. Tibbie 



99 

ought not to have asked you to come in. You 
must not stay/^ 

" I don't think I am afraid, only I'm so sorry. 
Something aches very much. And what does 
Miss Bruce do ?'* 

'' She is with him always, she never leaves him 
at aU." 

" Do you mean she sits by him all day, never 
anyone else but her^?" 

" Yes, and all the night, too . Dr. Greenwood 
says he must have uninterrupted attention.'' 

'^Oh, Mrs. Edenall, how tired she must be !" 

It was a simple remark, and very natural for 
one who had not felt as yet that which every 
woman, be she queen or peasant, must sooner or 
later learn, the bitter-sweet of love's anxiety. 
Mrs. Edenall looked through and through that fair 
young face which held no remembrance of sorrow ; 
nothing but the shade of grief which her own 
words had brought into it. 

" Alice," she said, '^ you don't know what it is 
to have anyone you love, very ill, so ill that death 
may come at any time." 

Few people have need to pause for thought ere 
they answer such a question. Most home gardens 

H 2 



100 

have given a flower to the gi-eat reaper^ and he has 
left in its place a memory which can never die. 
But Alice^s flowers were ungathered yet^ and so 
she answered without pause, 

" No. I have nobody but Aunt Amiel, and I 
don^t know that she has ever been ill at all. I 
have never had anything to do with ill people, nor 
seen any one die." 

"Neither have I, Alice. God never let me 
comfort any one. Perhaps I have not deserved 
/ j it. But you will know some day that it can 
'^^'1 never tire us to do anything for those we love." 

Alice sat still for a while, the slow tears drop- 
ping one by one to the floor. At last she lifted 
her face and threw back the long curls which 
covered it. 

"I brought back Mr. Emcee's music, and I 
must take some more. I know he wants to have 
it done." 

She went to the little table in the corner and 
began with grave reverent care to turn over the 
sheets of music which lay in the portfolio. 

" When these separate voice parts are done, it 
will be all ready. I will make haste and finish 
them. He will be pleased then. He will want to 



ST. OLAVE^S. 101 

look over tliem as soon as he gets better, and if — 
if '' ^ 

Here Alice broke down into a passionate fit of 
crying. The sight of David Bruce^s musicj his 
unfinished scores, the pens that he used lying just 
as he was wont to leave them, brought back the 
remembrance of him too strongly ; and thinking 
of the pleasant times they had spent together, 
that little ^^ if ^^ seemed linked to such a fearful 
possibility of blank disappointment. 

Mrs. Edenall came and stood by her, holding 
her hand firmly and tenderly until the passion of 
her grief had spent itself. It did not last long. 

" There, I shall not let you stay now. You are 
nervous and overwrought. Walk quietly home, 
and I think you ought not to come again ; it is not 
safe for you. You will hear as soon — as scaj 
change takes place.'' 

Oh ! how unwilling'we are to frame in our own 
thoughts, or speak into the unconscious air, that 
grim word. Death. How vainly we strive to shroud 
it in speech which may not smite the ear with such 
an icy sound. And even when the sharp glitter of 
the scythe is blinding our eyes, and there is no 
longer any hope for the saving of our treasures, 



102 ST. olave's. 

still we will not talk of the great,, unalterable, 
fatal Thing which conies so near, but mutter 
vaguely of a '' change/^ 

Alice gathered up the music and went slowly 
into the garden. Everything looked very dif- 
ferent now. If the birds sang in the trees, she did 
not hear them. There was no beauty for her in 
the golden sunlight streaking down through the 
chesnut branches and lying in soft quivering flakes 
on the grass at her feet. There was no need 
either, coming home, to break off now and again 
from a measured walk to a gay tripping dance 
that should better match the music in her heart. 
In truth, the knowledge of David Bruce^s danger 
coming so suddenly upon her, had been a great 
blow. For the first time, when the stay was 
near being removed, she felt how strongly she 
had grasped it. Other people might court and 
flatter her, but somehow for real rest, for strong 
thorough confidence, she always turned to David 
Bruce. And whenever she thought of him, spite 
of his rugged manner and rough stern voice, there 
would come into her mind the burden of an old 
song she once read — 

"Douglas, Douglas, tender and ti'ue 1'* 



ST. olave's. 103 

The walk from Westw^ood was a very dreary 
one. And then when she got home to the Old 
Lodge she had to tell Aunt Amiel all about Mr. 
Bruce's illness, and that brought the sad 
feeling back again. It was because of these 
thoughts working up in her mind that there came 
over Alice^s face as she looked away through the 
cliasping ivy of the oriel window into the dim, quiet 
Close, a softening overtone of pensiveness, a haK 
perceptible haze of sadness, which, like the finish- 
ing touches put by artists on too bright pictm'es, 
seem to blend the whole into a quieter, more 
winning beauty. 

Mr. Scrymgeour came that night to bid them 
good-bye. He was going down into the South 
for a week or two to do duty for a clei^yman, 
whose health had failed. He soon perceived Alice^s 
altered mood, and with ready tact adapted himself 
to it. Before, he had been piquant and lively, full 
of jest and anecdote; now he was subdued, quiet 
and grave. There was an added tenderness in all 
bis ways, a sort of half-concealed sympathy which 
seemed to hint of some great deep of feeling 
beneath No one knew better than Cuthbert 
Scrymgeour how to assume this beguiling solicitude, 



104 

nor how to offer those graceful little attentions 
which to one saddened by trouble or the shadow 
of it, come so gratefully. Alice^s vanity, at least 
so much as she had, had been flattered by Mr. 
Scrymgeour's manner towards her during that first 
drive home from Norlands, it had pleased her to 
be praised and complimented, smiled upon and 
caressed. Now, he reached a deeper, subtler feel- 
ing. Then, her fancy only was pleased ; now, her 
heart, more tender and susceptible through this 
new grief, was touched ; and quick as she always 
was to respond to the slightest breath of kind- 
ness, Mr. Scrymgeour^s tender manner was in- 
finitely restful and refreshing. So that perhaps 
it would be hard to say whether a certain girlish 
grief for David Bruce, or a feeling of pleasure and 
confidence in this new-found affection which that 
grief had called forth, swayed her heart most 
strongly. 

The weeks wore on. The last laden vvaggon 
disappeared from the Norlands corn-fields, and 
the people taking their walks about St. Olave's 
no longer encountered troops of Irish labourers, 
with clouted shoes and bronzed faces, wending 



105 

home from harvest work. September passed; 
October came in with its hazy mornings, its soft, 
dreamy noontides, its red sunsets; and with its 
later weeks a little sunshine came back to the 
Westwood home. David Bruce began to improve. 
At first, he sat up for an hour or two ; then, 
wrapped in shawls and carriage-rugs, he crept 
across the landing, and got into the west room — 
the room which had been fitted up for Mrs. 
Edenall, but which now she scarcely ever occu- 
pied. At last, one very bright morning at the 
end of the month, he astonished them all by 
coming downstairs and taking possession of his 
own place at the fireside. True, he looked very 
worn and weak, and had shrunk into scarce half 
his former broad bulk ; but the getting do^vn at 
aU was a great triumph, and made them feel as if 
the old times were coming back again. 

After Mrs. Grey had heard that he was ill, 
presents of fruit and flowers often came from the 
Old Lodge, with kind inquiries and loving mes- 
sages for Janet. And sometimes, at noon-day, 
when the sun was bright and warm. Aunt Amiel 
would send the carriage for David to take a drive ; 
but Alice herself never came for many weeks. 



106 ST. OLAVE^S. 

One day, however — it was about a month after 
he had passed the worst of his illness — she 
brought back the music which she had taken 
home to copy. Janet and Mrs. Edenall had gone 
out ; it was the first time they had ever left him 
alonCj but he seemed very quiet and easy ; and 
so, giving Tibbie strict orders that no one was to 
be admitted during their absence, they left him 
to his own meditations, and went for a walk down 
the quiet road that led to Norlands Cottage. 

It was Saturday morning. Tibbie had scoured 
the front passage, and then set the door wide 
open, as she always did, to facilitate the process 
of drying. After this, she went into the back 
kitchen to ^' sort '^ the vegetables for dinner, and 
was giving her whole soul to the paring of some 
potatoes, when Alice came up the garden walk. 
The old Scotchwoman was dull of hearing, so she 
missed the young girFs noiseless tread, and Alice 
stood for some time in the entry, debating with 
herself whether or not to ring. Seeing no one 
about, she crept quietly to the parlour-door and 
opened it, expecting to find Mrs. Edenall and 
Janet in the room. 

David Bruce was lying on the sofa, his face half 



107 

buried in the cushions^ so that she could only see 
its profile. He seemed to be sleeping_, and moved 
not a muscle as she came forward with hushed, 
careful step, scarce daring to breathe, for fear she 
should wake him. Surely the dreams that stole 
under those shut eyelids must have been pleasant, 
for there was such a look of peacefulness upon 
his face,, such utter contentment and repose ; just 
such an expression as she had met there often and 
often before, while sitting by his side in this same 
room^ and hearing him rehearse that grand music 
of his. 

Alice stole up to him, and crouched down on 
a little footstool close by the sofa. After all, it 
was pleasant to be near him again; it brought 
back just the old strong restful feel — as if, feeble 
though he was, his very presence could keep harm 
away from her. She bent forward and leaned 
her head upon her hands, gazing earnestly into 
his face, while a look of tender thoughtfulness 
came into her own — a look of mingled wonder, 
and reverence, and affection. It was there still 
when David opened his eyes and saw her. 

He did not start nor seem surprised. Why 
should it be strange to wake from a dream. 



108 



ST. OLAVE'S. 



through whichj like some angel presence, she had 
passed, and find her really there, so near that he 
could clasp her hands and look straight into her 
honest, truthful eyes. He raised himself a little 
from the cushion, turning his face towards her, 
and then she saw how wan and worn it was ; like 
the face of a man who stands yet in the valley of 
the shadow of death, who has not loosed his hold 
of the hand which could guide him with a few very 
short steps back again into its darkest place. 

Alice was the first to speak. "Whatever else 
Mr. Bruce had lost, he had certainly not lost any 
of his old quietness. There was still that steady, 
bolted look about the lips, that peculiar expression 
of self-containment and reticence, 

" I have thought so much about you. I have 
been so sorry for you.'^ Alice^s voice trembled as 
she said this, and the tears came into her eyes, but 
she made a brave effort and forced them back 
again. 

He said nothing, only just held out his hand to 
her ; the poor, thin hand, that had scarcely strength 
to clasp her own. Alice kept it very fast between 
both of hers, laying down her warm, rosy cheek 
upon it. She would have done just the same with 



109 

a little canary bird^ if it had chanced to flutter 
into her bosom. 

"And I have wanted so often to see yon^ but 
they would not let me come." 

Still no answer^ but that steady, earnest look, 
which seemed to hold more than any words could 
speak. 

" I will come now though, and get a long talk 
with you soon. I have wearied for you very 
much.'^ 

David was pleased, it was one of his own country 
words Alice had learned from him, and it sounded 
so pleasantly from her young, girlish voice. He 
drew her a little nearer to him, and said in just 
the old way, that Alice remembered so well : — 

" I have been sair weary for you too, little 
Alice." 

" Wha's the maister crackin^ tull ? " said 
Tibbie, appearing in the doorway with her linsey 
apron tucked up round her ample waist, and half 
a yard of paring dangling from the potato in her 
left hand. " Miss Janet telled me naebody ava was 
to get speech of him. Ye'd no ha' come ben the 
day, lassie, gin my auld lugs had been as licht as 
yer ain wee bit footies." 



no 

Tibbie lacked the suaviter in modo, but she 
possessed to a remarkable extent the fortiter in re, 
which, upon occasion, is quite as serviceable. 
Tramping into the room with her sturdy, stocking- 
less feet, she laid her brown hand upon Alice's 
arm. 

" Ye maun come awa the noo, lassie," she said, 
and then, without further word or speech, she 
conducted the young girl out of the room, never 
relaxing her hold until she had seen her safely 
en route for the garden gate ; after which she 
returned to the back kitchen, and proceeded with 
the peeling of the potatoes. 

A valuable servant, very, was Tibbie Inverarity. 



Ill 




CHAPTER VIII. 

jj RS. Archdeacon Scrymgeour did not 

h 

11 forget her promi se touching the party 

11 which had been proposed with a 
view to facilitating the matrimonial speculations 
of her nephew. Cuthbert was to come home 
early in December, and the party ought to take 
place soon after his return. Mrs. Scrymgeour 
was anxious that it should be the opening event 
of the St. Olave's season, in order that Alice 
might have frequent after-opportunities of seeing 
society. Of course during this, her first intro- 
duction to fashionable life, the young girl would 
naturally be dazzled by the novelty of the scene, 
and view it rather as a means of enjoyment than a 



112 

new and serious phase in the curriculum of social 
education ; but on subsequent occasions, Mrs. 
Scrymgeour took it for granted she would exercise 
her powers of observation, and study to mould her 
deportment after the most approved models of the 
aristocratic circle in which she was intended to 
move. 

This being Alice^s debut. Mistress Amiel Grey 
had to be consulted about it. Mrs. Archdeacon 
Scrymgeour therefore took an early opportunity 
of calling at the Lodge, and informing the dear, 
unworldly old lady, of the pressing necessity that 
existed for her niece's being introduced to the 
pomps and vanities of polite life, and of the 
plan which she had devised for meeting that 
necessity ; keeping out of sight, of course, the 
little personal arrangement that was to follow. 
It was one grey morning towards the close of 
November, when she had seen Alice cross the 
Close to morning prayers at the Cathedral, and 
was therefore confident of a clear course, that she 
opened her commission. 

Aunt Amiel was sitting by the fire. On a 
little oaken stand beside her lay a Prayer-book, 
opened upon the Psalms for the day. She had 



ST. OLAVE^S. 113 

been reading, and was now thinking over them 
with a very calm, quiet, contented expression 
on her face ; such a look as those have whose 
warfare is ended, and whose remaining little 
span of life is brightened by coming glory. All 
the tumult and unrest which those grand old 
poems breathe, had been overpast by her ; all 
the weariness too and sorrow. As she read 
them now, she gathered up only the praise. 

Mrs. Scrymgeour felt that it would scarcely be 
seemly to break in at once upon Mistress Grey^s 
train of thought with the subject she had in hand. 
She therefore introduced a few preparatory re- 
marks, ^^churchy^^ at first, but gradually relaxing 
in their tone, until at last they reached a point 
where the mention of downright mundane topics 
would not produce too violent a contrast. 

'^ And now, my dear Mrs. Grey," said the Arch- 
deacon^s widow, when at last the little bark of 
conversation had got fairly launched into open 
waters, "let me mention a subject that has been 
pressing upon my mind somewhat frequently of 
late. Our charming little friend'' — they had been 
talking of Alice previously, — "has akeady com- 
pleted her eighteenth year, and I am sure yoii will 

VOL. II. 1 



114 

agree with me in thinking that she ought to be 
placed in the possession of those advantages to 
which by birth and position she is entitled/^ 

At the words " birth and position" Mrs. Grey- 
seemed perplexed. 

'^ I had scarcely thought of it/^ she said, after 
a long pause, during which Mrs. Scrymgeour sup- 
posed she had been mentally discussing the most 
eligible way in which the debut could be accom- 
plished. " I have always endeavoured to preserve 
Alice from having too exalted views of her ot\ti 
position, and any consideration to which she may 
be entitled. There are difficulties connected with 
her that increase as she grows older. They press 
upon me sometimes, and I almost think ^^ 

" Yes, yes, my dearest Mrs. Grey, I assure you 
I quite comprehend the circumstances to which 
you refer. A young orphan girl, connected with 
one of the most influential Close families, pos- 
sessed of such great beauty too, and of consider- 
able pecuniary expectations ^' 

Mrs. Scrymgeour threw out this last clause as 
a feeler, being well assured that if the expecta- 
tions were not considerable, Mrs. Grey would 
speak up at once and say so. Aunt Amiel, how- 



115 

ever, let it pass without any attempt at contra- 
diction, and the Archdeacon's widow continued, — 

^^ Pecuniary expectations to a considerable 
amount, always my dear Mrs. Grey render the 
guardianship of a young lady a serious responsi- 
bility, and I sympathize with you, I most sin- 
cerely sympathize with you, in the anxieties that 
your trust involves. But Alice must enter into 
society sooner or later, and I am sure you will agree 
with me that her first introduction to it could not 
be accomplished more favourably than at a select 
party, quite select, dear Mrs. Grey, which I think 
of giving in the coui^se of a few weeks, and at 
which I assure you I shall watch over her interests 
with a truly maternal solicitude." 

Mrs. Grey yielded — how could she do otherwise, 
to a proposal made so generously, and combining 
so many advantages? The matter was settled 
therefore, and in due time a dainty little note, 
bearing Mrs. Archdeacon Scrymgeour's crest, ar- 
rived at the Old Lodge, requesting the pleasure of 
Miss Grey's company at Chapter Court on the 
20th, with the magic word " dancing'' introduced 
in the corner. 

To say that Alice did not look forward to tlie 

I 2 



116 ST. OLAVE^S. 

event with eager fluttering expectancy,, would be 
gifting her with an amount of mental solidity and 
fortitude to which she had not the slightest 
claim. What young girl does not anticipate her 
first party with longings akin to those the little 
boys and girls of wandering Israel — supposing 
their gastronomic tastes similar to ours — would 
cast towards the land that flowed with milk and 
honey ? 

Is not her eighteenth birthday welcomed by 
every school-girl as the magic gate through which 
she is to pass into the enchanted circle of society^ 
with its balls and parties^ its fetes and flower shows^ 
its dazzling drawing-rooms and elegant suppers, 
its tulle and tarlatane, jewels, feathers, and 
wreaths, its successive flirtations, conquests, and 
engagements, terminating at last in that climax of 
magnificent display, wherein beneath a canopy of 
Brussels lace and orange blossom, and with eclat 
gi-eater than that which once surrounded the 
far-famed triumphs of Scipio, she achieves the 
sublime destiny of matrimony ? I repeat, does not 
every girl, trained as most girls now are to view 
marriage as the ultimatum of social politics, long 
for the time when she shall be permitted to enter 



' ST. OLAVE^S. 117 

the arena and strive for its wreath of victory? 
Well^ Alice had the common frivolities of girlhood^ 
and if her seclusion from indiscriminate com- 
panionship had saved her from much of its 
hoUowness, its precocious worldly wisdom^ its 
shallow schemes of flirtation and conquest^ still 
there was that in her which owned aflSnity with the 
charms of social life, and made her count the days 
with scarcely restrained impatience until the 
twentieth of December should arrive. 

But to return to Westwood. After that last 
visit of Alice Grey's, David grew rapidly better 
and was soon able to work at his Oratorio with 
renewed energy. 

Indeed there was need for him to do so. The 
Oratorio was announced for performance in London 
on the 20th of December, the same evening as 
Mrs. Scrymgeour's party. The singers had been 
for some weeks past rehearsing their parts, and 
Mr. Bruce was to go up to London early in 
December to superintend the first performance of 
it in person. 

Only once more before leaving Westwood, he 
and Alice Grey met ; and their meeting was on 
this wise. 



118 

It was the day before he went away. She had 
come partly to call upon Miss Bruce, but more for 
the sake of putting off the weariness and ennui 
which often came over her now that Mr. Scrym- 
geour was no longer at hand to amuse her with 
his pleasant idle talk, or charm her with those 
pretty compliments of his. Alice found it hard 
to turn from the nectar of flattery and caresses to 
the plain food of common life ; and perhaps it was 
this scarcely acknowledged weariness, this tinge of 
disappointment and emptiness^ that made her 
seem quieter than usual, and brought into her 
face a wistful look which David had seldom 
seen there before. 

Mrs. Edenall was out, for it was a crisp, bright, 
sunshiny day, and Janet was somewhere in the 
upper regions, busy preparing her brother's 
things for his journey next morning. 

David Bruce had not got back all his old energy, 
and a long day's work at altering one of the cho- 
ruses in '^ Jael '' had somewhat paled his cheek, 
and made him glad to rest in the great arm- 
chair by the fire. Alice saw that he was weary, 
and offered to help him by copying out into se- 
parate voice parts the music which he had has- 



ST. olave's. 119 

tily jotted down on a few loose sheets of paper. 
The work was good for her, it filled her mind 
and beguiled her thoughts. As she bent patiently 
over it, the weary look smoothed out of her face, 
and there came instead, one peaceful, contented. 
Besides, she was always pleased to do anything 
for David Bruce. 

He watched her from beneath the hand which 
shaded his eyes. She sat at the music table by 
the window. The slanting December sunlight 
coming in through the lattice — there were no vine 
leaves now to keep it out — stole brightly through 
and through the golden tendrils of her hair, and 
flickered upon the rounded outlines of her cheek 
and throat. Even in her plain, close-fitting winter 
dress of dark blue wincey, she made a pretty pic- 
ture ; there was something so fresh and flower-like 
about her. 

By-and-by the last sheet was finished, and she 
brought it to the fire to dry. 

'^ Is there anything else I can do for you, Mr. 
Bruce ?" she said, as she gathered up the loose 
papers and laid them tidily together. 

How humbly Alice always spoke to this man ; 
how docile as a little child she became in his pre- 



120 ST. OLAVE^S. 

sence. With other people she was wilful^ and 
showed a certain dash of spoiled pettishness some- 
times ; but with him she was always tender and 
subdued. It was with very different tones from 
those she had already learned to use to Mr. 
Scrymgeour that she asked — 

■' Is there anything else I can do for you ?^^ 

" No thank you, Alice ; come and sit down by 
me now. It will be a long time before we get 
a talk with each other again." 

Alice came and sat on the hassock at Da^dd 
Bruce's feet_, resting herself against the arm of 
his chair. She did not speak_, but looked steadily 
down into the red firelight. By-and-by she 
leaned her head upon his knee_, and began 
crooning to herself one of the solos from 
^^Jael." 

As she sat there, her face half-turned from 
him, David took up one of her long curls and 
played with it, twining it round his fingers, then 
loosing it and watching it fall in a long waging 
rippling tress to the ground. While he did so, 
he thought for the first time how like her hair 
was to Mrs. EdenalFs, — the same rich, changeful 
tint, golden in the sunshine and tawny in the 



121 

shade, the same playful ripple and soft silky flow. 
And then he wondered if by the time these locks 
were grey like Mrs. Edenall^s_, they would shadow 
a face so worn as hers. 

"No;, never, my darling," he murmured, half 
aloud, as the thought came over him. 

Alice lifted her head. 

"What did you say? Were you speaking to 
me?" 

" No, I was not speaking to you." 

Her head went down again to its old resting- 
place. 

David Bruce was not in a talking mood that 
afternoon, neither was Alice. They sat there in 
unbroken silence until the sun crept away behind 
the grey towers of the Minster, and the firelight 
began to have its own way in the quiet little room 
dancing with pleasant fitful flicker over the old- 
fashioned furniture, and making strange shadows 
amongst the leaves and flowers of the mirror's 
oaken frame. 

" It is late, I must go home," said Alice at last, 
making a move to raise herself. 

" No, not yet," and Da\'id laid his hand upon 
her shoulder — just a touch, yet it kept her there. 



132 

She obeyed every motion of his will as completely 
as that petulant, imperious organ yonder, at the 
Cathedral. 

^' I shall think of you very often, Alice, when I 
am away. You have been a great help to me.'^ 

She looked up to him with a face so bright in 
its gladness. To be praised by those she cared for 
was more than meat and drink to Alice Grey. 
Did he know it was only because he praised her, 
or did he think that another and deeper feeling 
made the clear music of her voice as she said — 

"It has been my joy to help you. I wish I 
could have done it over and over again for 
you.^^ 

'' Little Alice ! " 

The words were very low, scarcely more than a 
whisper; but surely she might have heard the 
thrill of feeling in them ; surely she might have 
known that tones like those are never used by any 
man save to the woman he chooses from all others 
to be his own — his wife. She sat for a little while 
longer, looking silently into the clear red firelight. 
Then she moved his hand away from her 
shoulder. 

^^ There, I must go. Do not stop me again. 



ST. olave's. 123 

Mr. Bruce, please. Aunt Amiel will wonder wliy 
I don^t go home. And now_, good-bye ! " 

She held out her hand to him in just her own 
frank, girlish way. He rose, wearily rather, for 
he was far from strong yet, and held it fast in his, 
looking down earnestly into her face, as if search- 
ing for an unspoken answer to an unspoken 
question. 

Alice returned his gaze for awhile, and then her 
eyes fell, first to the firelight again, and from that 
to the ground. 

Why did he not tell her that he loved her? 
Why did he not break away the dusty old conven- 
tions, the cobwebs of rank and position, among 
which she had been bred, and speak out bravely, 
honestly, as one human being may always speak 
to another. She stood there in her affluence of 
hope, and youth, and beauty — he in his poverty 
and obscurity, bare enough of money and position, 
rich only in the coin of earnest purpose, a coin, 
alas ! not current in St. Olave^s. And David 
Bruce was very proud. He would have waited 
patiently and wearied on through years of toil 
rather than the woman he loved should step down 
one inch of social caste to place her hand in his. 



124 ST. OLAVE^S. 

Yet lie hesitated. It was so hard to let her go 
from him. She looked so humble, so gentle, as 
she stood before him with downcast eyes and cheeks 
flushing in the dim light. 

His hand was upon the latch of action; one 
moment more and the fateful question would have 
been asked and answered — that answer which, 
spoken in truth, angels hush their song to hear. 
But just then another hand was upon another 
latch. The door opened and Janet came in with 
half a dozen collars whose buttons needed moving 
the eighth of an inch farther back. 

Their hands unclasped. When and where 
should they clasp again ? 

Alice smiled a farewell and a greeting both in 
one, to Miss Bruce, and then slipped away. 
Presently she was walking down Westwood Lane 
as cheerfully as though there were no such words 
in the dictionary as pain and parting. 

" Davie, I have got all your things ready for 
you, except these collars, which have been rather 
too wide since you were so ill. And do be careful 
now, not to forget that chest-preserver of yours ; 
you know so much depends on guarding against 
cold. Your study coat is in the portmanteau too, 



125 

but don't wear it except just at night when you 
are by yourself; it is not fit to put on out of doors 
any more/' 

^^ And/' continued Janet, getting out her needle 
and thread and setting to work upon the buttons, 
" I should like you to wear that black necktie with 
the violet spots in a general way, it fits you so 
nicely ; and be very particular about your hand- 
kerchiefs, will you? You know the London 
washer-women are so deceitful, and will change 
them for imitation cambric if you don't mind." 

All which directions Da\ad listened to very 
patiently. 

Next morning he set off to London. 



126 



CHAPTER IX. 



i 



mn 



T was the night of Mrs. Scrymgeour's 
party,, and lights began to flicker from 
the upper windows of certain of the 
Close houses^ whose young lady occupants had re- 
ceived notes of invitation to the spread. It would 
be stating a profound untruth to say that Alice 
Grey did not spend more than usual time before 
her looking-glass that night. The poet^s axiom — 

" Beauty when unadorned S adorned the most," 

quoted so frequently by people who fancy they 
know all' about it, is a fallacy, a complete fallacy, 
as the experience of daily life abundantly proves. 
Is it not a fact patent to any one of ordinary 



127 

powers of observation, a fact about whicb there 
lingers not tbe shadow of a doubt, that the women 
whom Nature has most richly dowered with per- 
sonal attractions, are just the women who spend 
most time in elaborating their toilettes and labour- 
ing to produce a pleasing effect ? Is it the plain 
'^ young person ^^ who sits for an hour before her 
mirror, adjusting the fall of a ringlet or coaxing a 
bandeau into its most effective position ? Is it the 
virgin of freckled skin and dumpy figure who can't 
sleep at nights for thinking what colour her next 
new ball- dress shall be, and whether she shall wear 
blue flowers or pink in her stubby hair ? No ; 
these and similar anxieties are confined to the 
acknowledged belles of society, who suffer them 
cheerfully as the income-tax of beauty. Nor 
would they risk so large a capital of time and 
trouble in personal adornment, did not the invest- 
ment yield a profitable dividend in the shape of 
compliments and pretty speeches. 

A beautiful woman is in the right of it to make 
the most of the talent she holds. It is no light 
thing to have a form so lovely that every one who 
looks upon it is unconsciously made happier. She 
would be scarcely a woman who did not more than 



128 

simply care for^ who did not reverence and cherish 
a gift_, which is as much God-bestowed as the in- 
tellect that directs or the eloquence which sways 
the passions of men. 

And, indeed, to look no farther than the mere 
utilitarian aspect of the matter — we have come 
back now to the length of time a woman may 
reasonably spend over dressing herself — it is well 
to be leisurely and careful in the performance of a 
duty in which trifling neglect may lead to disas- 
trous results. Take, for instance, your violently 
well-informed young lady, your feminine compen- 
dium of scientific knowledge, who bristles all over 
with ^ologies, who cannot open her mouth without, 
not a diamond, but a/«c/, dropping from it. She 
is invited to a party, and accepts the invitation ; 
not that she cares for balls and suppers, of course, 
but society has claims upon intelligent people; her 
presence will check frivolitj^, her conversation will 
ensure respect, &c. She is elbow deep in mathe- 
matics to the last moment, telegraphs through her 
toilette, " fixes up ^' her hair in a trice, jumps into 
her dress and is walking through a quadrille with- 
in half an hour of the time when she was solvins: 
a problem in cube root. The evening is not far 



129 

advanced before a carelessly-adjusted hair-pin 
begins to sport itself in tbe back settlements of 
lier coiffure. It presses painfully^ more painfully 
— as only hair-pins know how to press when they 
are badly put in — it becomes positively aggravat- 
ing j but the arrangements of the party will not 
admit of her slipping out to set it rights and she is 
forced to endure the martyrdom in silent patience. 
She begins to look cross — how can she help it^ 
poor girl^ with that vicious pin sticking into her 
scalp ? And people give over asking her to dance. 
By-and-by a headache ensues ; she can^t converse^ 
her ideas collapse^ her amiability dissolves like 
jelly on Midsummer-day^ her store of information 
— with which she was to have accomplished so 
much — is locked up in a box of which she has lost 
the key. People wonder at her disagreeableness 
— of course they do not know the misery under 
which she labours — and^ as likely as not^ attribute 
it to intellectual repletion. The gentleman who 
escorts her in to supper is disgusted with the cross- 
grained specimen of womanhood he has taken 
under his protection, and the poor girl goes home 
at last weary, out of sorts, splenetic, disappointed, 

VOL. II. K 



130 

and vixenish. All the fault of that misplaced hair- 
pin. 

I don't blame Alice Grey, then, and I hope you 
will not, that although it was scarcely six o'clock 
when she went into her room to dress for the 
party, the Cathedral bells were just^on the stroke 
of half-past seven before Lettice, the good-tem- 
pered little waiting-maidj had adjusted the last 
curl and fastened the white cashmere wrap round 
her mistress's snowy shoulders. Then Alice 
fluttered down the oaken staircase into the empty 
drawing-room, and lighted a chandelier in order that 
she might take a leisurely sui'vey of herself in 
the mirror that stood between the windows. 
The inspection must have been attended with a fa- 
vourable result, judging from the smile which over- 
spread Alice's face when it was concluded, — a 
smile not of conceit or vanity, but simple, innocent 
pleasure at finding herself so fair. You might as 
well call a forget-me-not vain when it bends to 
look at its o^^Ti loveliness in the stream that 
waters it, or chide the lily for pride because it 
stoops its regal head OAcr the fountain miiTor. 

'' Don't I look nice. Auntie ?" she said, as she 
came floating into the oriel room where Aunt 



131 

Amiel was sitting in lier usual place by the fire ; " 1 
never felt so pretty before/^ and then she turned 
slowly round that the old lady might get a prospect 
of her on all sides,, while Lettice peeping in at the 
half-opened door^ smiled at the pleasant sight. 

Was it a presentiment of what that night might 
bring, that made Mistress Amiel Grey open her 
arms and fold Alice to her bosom, closely, more 
closely than the girl ever remembered being folded 
there before ? Would she keep her back as long 
as she could from that hollow false world in 
which she would find perhaps a little of floating 
pleasure, but surely a great deep of disappoint- 
ment? Would she keep her darling yet a little 
longer in that peaceful, innocent, unconscious 
child-life out of which this night would snatch 
her ? 

There was a ring at the bell. It was Mrs. 
Somers, who had called for Alice. Aunt Amiel 
was too infirm to go into company, and therefore 
the Dean^s lady was to act as Alice's chaperone. 

She gave Aunt Amiel a good-night kiss, and 
with a passing ^'^ Thank you Lettice for spending 
so much time over me,'' was whirled away to her 
fiist round on the great social treadmill. 



132 ST. OLAVE^S. 

" Our pet looks quite charming to-night, she is 
really a sweet little creature/^ said the Dean's lady, 
a couple of hours later, as Alice passed them 
in a quadrille with her partner, Cuthbert 
Scrymgeour. 

And, indeed, she did look very lovely. She 
wore a full-skirted white dress of India muslin, 
soft and cloud-like, looped up here and there with 
clusters of frosted green leaves and pearls. For a 
head-dress she had that Venetian cordon of pearls, 
which the jeweller's skill had converted into a very 
tasteful ornament. It was twisted carelessly round 
her head and fastened over the left ear in a loose 
knot, from which the silver tassels drooped and 
mingled with her brown curls. There was a 
deeper colour than usual on her cheeks, and a 
bright glancing light in her eyes. She was 
thoroughly enjoying the scene so new and strange 
to her, and, in this respect, she differed from 
several of the other young ladies, belles of six or 
eight seasons standing, who had a hacked, worn- 
out look, and went through the whole affair as if 
it was a sort of bore. 

"Yes, she is a very passable girl,'' rejoined 
Mrs. Scrymgeour, " but if I were asked to give 



133 

my opinion I should say she would be improved by 
a little more tone. She is just a shade too 
impulsive. You see^ my dear Mrs. Somersj, 
dignified manners are so very essential to young- 
ladies,, in a Cathedral city especially; and for a 
person of Miss Grey^s position^ destined to be the 
wife of '' 

" Whatj engaged already !" exclaimed the Dean^s 
lady. 

^^Oh no, no, nothing of the sort/^ and Mrs. 
Scrymgeour stooped down to arrange a refractory 
fold in her black velvet dress, ''^nothing of the 
sort; but you see, Mrs. Somers, she is sure to 
marry into some of the Close families, and she will 
never get on without dignity. She has quite the 
air of the nursery about her.''^ 

" That is because she has never been to school. 
It^s a thousand pities Mrs. Grey didn^t give her 
two or three years at Madame Bresiatellie^s in 
London, it would have been the making of her. 
My eldest girl was a terrible hoyden before she 
went there, but really the change when she came 
home for the first holidays was marvellous ; such 
exceedingly finished manners, and her tone every- 
thing that could ])e wished. ^^ 



134 ST, OLAVE^S. 

" Ah^ but you see Mrs. Grey has such peculiar 
notions ; it is a perfect mystery to me the way she 
has brought up that niece of hers. Would you 
believe it, I had quite a struggle to get Alice 
to-night, the poor old lady seemed so afraid of 
letting her be introduced into society. Age, you 
see, the infirmities of age.^^ 

'^^We were discussing Miss Grey,'^ continued 
the Archdeacon^s widow, as !Mrs. Colonel Spurge, 
a stout dowager of fifty-five, deposited herself on 
the lounge besides them. '' You know this is her 
debiit.'' 

" Pretty little thing, very pretty little thing," 
said Mrs. Spurge, carelessly quizzing Alice through 
her gold-mounted eye-glass, ^*^but decidedly too 
petite for my fancy. I prefer girls of more build 
and presence,^'' and the ColoneFs lady looked 
complacently down to the far end of the room, 
where her daughters, the Misses Spiu'ge, two 
extensive, good-tempered, unbetrothed damsels, 
were disporting themselves in the dance. 

" Tastes difi'er. Now I belie'\'e most gentlemen 
are fond of little women. Cuthbert dotes upon a 
petite figur*^, and you know his taste is universally 
considered unexceptionable. But Canon "Wilkes is 



ST, OLAVE^S. 135 

coming ; excuse me^, I must go and introduce him to 
a few of tlie gentlemen ;^^ and Mrs. Scrymgeour 
moved away, leaving the two ladies to finish 
their conversation. 

Generally speaking there was not much interest 
in the Close parties. St. Olave^s was very difi'erent 
to Belgravia, which rejoices in a vast floating 
population of fresh faces_, so that the giver of 
entertainments can get together every night 
twenty or thirty distinguished strangers as easily as 
she orders her supper or bespeaks her decorations. 
In the circumscribed fellowship of the Close 
families, everybody knew who everybody else was. 
The faces which one by one bloomed into young 
ladyhood, or shot forth the masculine _ adornment 
of whiskers, were as familiar as the Close elm trees 
and the rooks which colonized the Deanery 
chimneys. The advent of a doTvmright stranger 
into the select midst of the St. Olave^s inner circle 
created almost as much curiosity as if a fresh 
^urgoyle had struggled out beneath the Cathedral 
eaves, or a supernumerary martyr, with palm crown 
and flowing robes, taken his place amongst the 
worthies who kept watch upon the east front. 

But though the faces of the people were not ticw 



136 

to Alice^ their ways were quite strange. Brought 
up as she had been in the old world still- 
ness of Aunt AmiePs home^ even this sombre 
exhibition of gaiety at Chapter Court appeared a 
whirl of excitement. The debut was quite a success 
so far as popularity went. The unspoiled fresh- 
ness of her manner had a charm about it which 
fascinated the starched cavaliers of the Close. She 
floated through dance after dance^ much to the 
secret annoyance of certain last yearns belles, who 
were condemned to wallflowerism most of the 
evening ; and it was not until her little feet were 
completely tired that she came and sat dow^i on a 
velvet lounge by the side of Miss rullerton_, the 
daughter of the county member, a fashionable 
young lady, fresh from town. 

"This is your first turn out, I suppose," said 
Miss FuUerton, as she drew aside half an acre of 
pink silk flounces to make room for Alice's white 
draperies. 

"Yes, I was never at a real party before. I 
never saw so much gaiety in all my life.'' 

Miss Fullerton's aquiline nose uplifted itself 
slightly, and she replied with the air of a young 
lady who has seen the world — 



ST. OLAVE^S. 137 

'' Oh this is nothing, positively nothing. It's 
just like going to sea in a washing-tub. You must 
get your aunt to let you have a few weeks in town. 
We think nothing there of dropping into half-a- 
dozen balls in a night." 

" But your shoes," said Alice, looking down at 
the little white satin tips peeping out from her 
dress, "V\a sure mine are begining to wear 
already. I don^t think I could dance another set 
in them." 

'^ Oh," laughed the experienced belle, " you 
would ruin the shoe shops if you capered away 
at the rate you have been doing this evening. 
Three or four quadrilles are as many as any 
young lady thinks of going through at one spread, 
and the rest of the time is spent in flirting, which 
is much pleasanter. But then, you know, St. 
Olave^'s is so awfully slow: one scarcely sees a 
fresh face — I mean one under a hat — from 
Christmas to Lent." 

'^ Here's Captain Madden coming this way," 
said Alice ; ^'\\q is going to ask you to dance." 

" Then he won't get me, that's all. My per- 
formances in that line are concluded for to-night. 
No, he is not coming, though ; he has weighed 



138 ST. OLAVE^S. 

anchor alongside of Miss Spurge. I wonder how 
it is that small men have such a partiality for 
high latitudes in women. He looks like a little 
steam-tug beside a man-of-war in full sail. But 
here is Mr. Scrymgeour making his way in our 
direction. What a splendid fellow he is ! " And 
Miss Fullerton began to smooth her bands and 
manipulate her ivory fan^ in anticipation of a 
flirting opportunity with the B.A. 

But Mr. Scrymgeour^s errand was not to the 
London belle ; he had business of another kind to 
be got through with to-night_, and a favourable 
opportunity for transacting it had just offered. 
He bowed gracefully to Miss Fullerton, and then 
gave his arm to Alice. 

" I believe there is music going on in the small 
drawing-room, and I know you enjoy singing. 
May I have the pleasure ? ^^ He laid his hand 
upon hers with a gentle touch, which Alice had 
felt more than once that evening, and which, 
every time she felt it, made her little heart flutter 
with a strange, new tremble of pleasure. 

Miss Fullerton shook out her pink flounces, 
and looked round for a fresh quarry. It pre- 
sented itself in the shape of Mr. Lewis Thorpe, a 



ST. OLAVE^S. 139 

rising barrister on tlie northern circuit; a bril- 
liant young man^ with a considerable flow of talk 
and an aptitude for flirtation^ which made him a 
charming companion to the ladies. 

When Alice and Mr. Scrymgeonr reached the 
music-room, Miss Somers was sitting at the piano 
with Blanche Egerton, a tall, dreamy-eyed, stylish- 
looking brunette, in lemon-coloured cashmere and 
black lace, by her side. 

" Oh, Mr. Scrymgeour,^^ said the Dean^s 
daughter, " you are the very person we want. We 
have been trying to get a bass voice for the 
'Wreath.^ Now, you will sing it, wonHyou? I 
know you can do it so splendidly.^^ 

'' Mr. Scrymgeour^s harp is always in tune,^^ said 
Blanche Egerton, giving him a soft glance from 
beneath her long black eyelashes, and placing 
herself so that the Spanish beauty of her com- 
plexion should appear in favourable contrast with 
Alice^s blonde face and sunny curls. 

As Cuthbert frequently informed his college 
friends, he '^ rather liked a dark girl,^' but he had 
reasons for preferring the rosebud style of beauty 
this evening. They arranged themselves at the 
piano. Miss Somers played, Blanche Egerton stood 



140 ST. OLAVE^S. 

beside her, and Mr. Scrymgeour a little behind, 
with Alice at his left hand. She would have 
slipped away from them, but Cuthbert, unseen 
by the other two ladies, placed his foot on the 
hem of her dress, and kept her near him. 

Long ago, I heard of a lady who won her hus- 
band by the singing of that song. Euterpe and 
Erato both must have presided with special care 
over its composition, for its bewitching notes 
helped to gain Cuthbert Scrymgeour his betrothed. 
Alice felt rather than saw that his eyes were upon 
her as he sang those lines, which have doubtless 
opened the way to many a flirtation, ending in a 
chaplet even more fragrant than the one they so 
glowingly describe : — 

" The beauteous wreath that decks her head. 
Forms her description, her description true ; 
Hands lily white, lips crimson red. 
And cheeks, and cheeks of rosy hue." 

^' Now let us have ^ Juanita -/ '^ and Mr. 
Scrymgeour took that song of Spain from a 
quantity of music which was thrown carelessly 
on the piano. ^'Miss Egerton, I am sure, will 
oblige us.^^ 

Miss Egerton smiled ; she was quite agreeable. 



141 

" Juanita " was her sensation song ; it suited' both 
her face and her voice. She dispread her lemon 
cashmere gracefully over the music-stool, tucked 
her gloves and handkerchief behind the desk_, and 
was just commencing, in a dulcet contralto voice, 
to inform her audience that 

" Soft o'er the fountain. 
Lingering falls the southern moon," 

when the door opened. 

^' Miss Somers and Miss Egerton are wanted for 
a charade,^"* said Captain Madden, bringing in a 
list of ladies^ names. '^ Pardon me, Mr. Scrym- 
geour, for depriving you of two of the graces," 
continued the gallant little officer, as he gave an 
arm to each of the ladies and ^squired them away 
to the great drawing-room, 

"He has left me the fairest of the three, ^^ 
mui'mured Cuthbert in a whisper, which reached 
only Alice's ears ; and then taking the place that 
Blanche Egerton had just left, he went through her 
unfinished song in that deep rich voice of his, 
which, whether it intoned Cathedral ser^dces or 
pattered the airy nothings of drawing-room chit- 
chat, was full of music passing sweet. 



142 

Do the composers of these fashionable ballads 
ever dream of the mischief which their glowing 
numbers may work in susceptible hearts ? Does 
it enter their minds that such very demonstra- 
tive sentiments put into the lips of musical ladies 
and gentlemen may slide unconsciously into real 
feelmgs, and produce most unlooked-for conse- 
quences ? Every one knows how that tenderest 
of tender songs doth end : — 

" Nita, Juanita ! let me linger by tliy side, 
Nita, Juanita ! be my own fair bride." 

HoW;, Alice could not tell for certain^ but in 
some form or other she gave the permission so 
musically pleaded for. Waking out of a dim^ 
confused^ and yet pleasant dream^ she felt her 
hand clasped in Mr. Scrymgeour^s, and his eyes 
bent down on her face. 

^' May I ask Aunt Amiel ? '^ were the first 
words she could remember^ and Alice^s answer _, 
whether looked or spoken_, gave no denial to the 
request. 

She was yet standing before him silent and 
trembling; with flushed face and downcast eyes, 
when voices were heard in the corridor. She 



ST. OLAVE^S. 143 

darted away througli a side door ; Cuthbert turned 
to the piano again^ and when a party of ladies and 
gentlemen came into the room to study their roles 
for the charade^ he was playing a quadrille with 
the most perfect insouciance. 

He was claimed to perform Victorian to Miss 
Egerton''s Preciosa in the Spanish Student. He 
was all polite acquiescence, would do anything in 
the world to oblige the ladies, and so scarce ten 
minutes after he had taken Alice^s hand in his 
and murmured over her his pretty words of love, 
he was on his knees reciting tender speeches to 
the dreamy-eyed brunette, and rehearsing sere- 
nades to be sung beneath her chamber window. 

When the charade was over he sought Alice, 
who had slipped away into a quiet corner of the 
room, and was sitting in one of the deep recessed 
window-seats, half hidden by the heavy curtains. 
Inhere was a flush upon her cheeks and a flickering 
light in her eyes which deepened as she looked up 
and saw Cuthbert coming towards her. 

" Alice, you look so sweet to-night.^^ 

It was the first time he had called her by her 
name. She looked up shyly into his face, and 
said in just her innocent way : — 



144 ST. OLAVEjS. 

" I am glad you like me. Aunt Amiel said 
before I came^ she had not seen me look so pretty 
before. ^^ 

Cuthbert Scrymgeour scarcely knew whether to 
laugh outright at the child^s unbounded simplicity, 
or to set etiquette at defiance and press a kiss on 
the lips which had just uttered such a bewitching 
little piece of naivete. However, his sense of pro- 
/f priety forbid the first, and the second he resented 
for a future opportunity. He contented himself 
with looking into the fair face until it blushed 
again. 

^' Miss Grey, Miss Grey ; where is Miss Grey ? 
the carriage is waiting ;^^ and the indefatigable 
captain, who seemed to be the courier-general 
for evening parties, came up with Alice's mantle 
on his arm. He was going to assist her in putting 
it on, but went away somewhat crest-faUen as Mr. 
Scrymgeour took it from him and signified his 
intention of acting as Miss Grey's cavalier. 

'^I suppose the thing is settled,'' said Mrs. 
Archdeacon Scrymgeour to herself, a^ she took 
leave of the Dean's lady, and watched her nephew 
assisting Alice into the carriage. ^' Well, she will 
make him a pretty wife, and her position is unex- 



ST. OLAVE^S. 145 

ceptionable, perfectly unexceptionable. All things 
considered, the affair is quite satisfactory/^ 

And so ended Alice Grey's first introduction to 
the fashionable world of St. Olave^s. 



VOL. J I. 



146 



.. T T t f t X 

MM 

mm} 



CHAPTER X. 

O-MORROW morning I shall come/' 
said Cutlibert Scrymgeour^ as lie stood 
by Alice's side in the entrance-hall 
whilst the footman assisted the Dean's lady 
and Elene Somers into the carriage,, and com- 
pressed their turbulent draperies into something 
like moderate dimensions. And then with a few 
whispered compliments, which those practised lips 
of his let fall as easily as cherry-trees shed theia' 
blossoms to the May breezes, he shook hands with 
her, bowed to the other ladies, and the carriage 
drove away. 

Cuthbert did not linger at the hall door to 
watch it out of sight, as some men would have 



147 

done under similar circumstances. Mr. Scr\Tn- 
geour was not one of the subjective class. At all 
times lie preferred action to contemplation, and 
so as soon as the wheels which bore Alice away 
began to crunch on the gravel sweep in front of 
Chapter Court, he went back to the drawing-room 
and finished the evening by a dance with Blanche 
Egerton. 

When Alice got home, everyone had gone to 
bed but Lettice, the little waiting-maid. The 
house had a strange, hushed, deserted feel. 
The fire in the oriel room was nearly out, only 
just giving light enough to show deep shadows in 
the corners of the room, over which, to Alice's 
excited fancy, weird shapes seemed to be flitting 
hither and thither. She shuddered, and wrapped 
her mantle more closely round her as she bent 
over the flickering embers. 

" There's a nice fire in your room. Miss, and 
Mrs. Grey said you must have some chocolate 
when you came home, so IVe got the water 
boiling. You're very tired I'm sure,"' and the 
kind-hearted little maiden looked sympathizingly 
into Alice's face, which was already beginning to 
pale. 



148 ST. OLAVE^S. 

" Yes^ I^m tired enough, Lettice, but I can^t 
take any chocolate to-night, thank you. Go and 
make my room ready, please, and Til come by- 
and-by/^ 

Never since Alice could remember, had she 
gone to bed without wishing Aunt Amiel good- 
night. She could not do so now. As she passed 
the door of her aunt^s room she opened it very 
softly and went in, shading the lamp Tvdth her 
hand that its glare might not fall upon the sleeper. 
She parted the curtains and looked lo^dngly into 
the old face. Aunt AmiePs sleep was not quiet 
to-night. She moved restlessly every now and 
then, as if some painfal dream was oppressing her, 
and Alice bending over her, fancied she heard 
snatches of broken incoherent sentences. 

She pressed a kiss on the old lady^s forehead, 
and then went away. There was a bright cheery 
fire in her own room. Lettice had drawn up the 
great easy chair, and put her quilted dressing- 
gown ready. She was waiting now to take away 
her mistress's gay dress and ornaments. 

^^ Thank you, Lettice, you need not stay. I 
donH want anything more. I daresay you are 
tired too, with sitting up so late. Leave me 



149 

As soon as Alice was alone^, she began to think 
over all the story of the evening. At first it 
seemed like a vi^ddJ by-past dream^ which 
indeed might be nothing but a dream. As she 
sat there in the gleaming firelight^ surrounded 
by the familiar books and pictures^ and the quaint 
black oak farniture^ which she remembered ever 
since she was a child, just the old child feeling 
came over her again ; the fresh_, unspoiled,, unthink- 
ing carelessness of girlhood. Until she chanced 
to look at the flowers lying in her lap, crushed 
and broken now, all but one little spray of myrtle 
which he had slipped into her hand as they stood 
together in the hall at Chapter Court, — that was 
green and glossy yet. Taking it up she re- 
membered all, and with the remembrance, there 
came into her face a look half of wonder, 
half of womanly dignity; no, scarce dignity, 
more a gentle, innocent sort of vanity, such 
vanity as might flush the cheek of a little child 
who toys with a bright choice plaything. 

Twohoursago Miss Fullerton had envied her when 
Cuthbert Scrymgeour gave her his arm and saun- 
tered with her through those gaily lighted rooms. 
"What would the London belle sav when she heard 



150 

that this same Cuthbert^ this winning, fascinating 
man, the cynosure of half the St. Olave^s young 
ladies, had chosen her, the little girl Alice, to be 
his wife. Then she recalled his tender looks, his 
pretty speeches, his pleasant caressing ways. She 
remembered how proud she had felt to walk by 
his side all down that long drawing-room, and 
hear whispered remarks about his noble presence, 
his aristocratic bearing, his handsome face, and 
so on. 

On the strength of this, Alice began to feel 
pleased and happy. It was so nice to know 
that somebody loved her, to feel that she had 
the power to make somebody happy — for had 
not Cuthbert whispered in her ear that life 
would be a blank without her gentle presence 
to cheer and brighten it ? — to feel that she would 
always have some one now to pet and fondle 
her, some one who would never cross or scold, 
but just caress her all the day through. The 
thought of this filled Alice^s heart with new 
trembling delight. It was very pleasant. 

But she never thought of him as one on whom 
she could stay and trust. Her di'eams were of 
happiness, not of rest. 



151 

Alice cared little to speculate on the temporal 
aspects and possibilities of her new position. 
Perhaps had the event which now filled her little 
heart with such store of innocent joy_, taken 
place half-a-dozen seasons later^ when she was 
more cultured by the example of other young 
ladies, and more experienced in their ways, it 
might have produced a very different train of 
meditation. Then possibly that sprig of myrtle 
might have been not so much a pretty love-token 
as an earnest of future orange blossom and social 
dignity. She might have turned it over in her 
white-gloved fingers, working out, meanwhile, 
not a pretty vision of kisses and caresses, but a 
process of mental arithmetic in the rules of interest 
and fellowship, or profit and loss viewed matri- 
monially. She might, instead of dreaming over 
Mr. Scrymgeour^s tender looks, have calculated 
the probable amount of his income; how many 
servants it would allow her to keep, and whether 
a pony-carriage or a brougham could be main- 
tained upon it. She might have arranged in her 
own mind the furniture of her future home, rose- 
wood, mahogany, or maple ; also the colour of the 
drawing-room hangings, and the pattern of the 



152 

carpet;, besides sundry little matters concerning 
dessert services and table linen^ not to mention 
the wedding breakfast and trousseau. For with 
girls who have been in genteel society for eight or 
ten years^ feeding upon its false maxims and 
nurtured in its hollow conventions;, these con- 
siderations are very weighty. 

But if the outside shows of her new position 
found no lodgment in Alice^s heart_, neither did 
its infinite seriousness waken any new thrill 
there. The very unschooled girlishness which 
sheltered her from the one^ made her incapable of 
appreciating the other. True^ she had no bril- 
liant visions of added social position^ no ambitious 
anticipations of married importance and house- 
hold statuS;, of which that myrtle spray had been 
the guerdon; but neither did she reck of the 
treasure she had given^ nor of all to which that 
gift had bound her. She was like a little child 
playing on the sea-shore^ clapping her hands with 
joy for its curling ripple and the music of its 
waves, thinking not of the storms that crouch 
beneath ; saying only^, as its sunlit spray flashes in 
her eyes, " O ! how pretty V never " O ! how 
grand V^ 



ST. OLAVE^S. 153 

The Minster bell had struck two before Alice 
put oif her gay robes^ and crept to bed. Soon 
the room grew dark. The fire burned down until 
only one single ember remained^ which shone like 
a vengeful eye in the midst of the gloom. Alice 
could not endure its fixed^ unblenching glare^ and 
she covered her face that she might see it no 
more. But the memory of it would not go away, 
and the last image which sleep dimmed^, was that 
red, unchanging eye, looking out upon her from 
the blackness all around. 

That same night David Bruce sat by his solitary 
London fireside, the plaudits of thousands ringing 
in his ears, his hand still warm with the grasp of 
peers and nobles who had pressed forward to con- 
gratulate him on his brilliant success. Yet it was 
not the memory of their praise which, as he sat 
there listening to the small morning hours chiming 
one by one from the belfry of St. PauVs, brought 
the grand, quiet light to his face, and the triumph 
to his eye. It was the thought that now, no longer 
mean and obscure, but fi-ee and equal, a noble 
man, and a worthy too, he might reach out his 
hand to Alice Grey and claim her for his own. 



154 ST. OLAVE^S. 

Ah, how strangely storms come swooping down 
upon this ocean over which we drift so blindly 
and helplessly ! Hopes it had taken a life to 
bnild up J strike in a moment on the rocks of fate 
or fortune,, and straightway nothing but a wreck 
remains. TVe would not have it so. Were the 
winds in our hands^ no storm should ever smite 
the sails^ no blast of lightning shiver the tall 
masts and strip down the pennon which floats so 
gaily upon the blue sky. All should go calmly, 
peacefully on, until the vessel anchored — where ? 

Yes, where ? And then we begin to feel the 
rest, the unutterable rest, of knowing that this 
whole life of ours, whether we will it so or not, 
is a plan of God ; that the tidal wave of human 
destiny ebbs and flows in obedience to laws as be- 
nign as those that gird the earth's blue waters 
and fix their bounds. And above all these shift- 
ing aims and purposes of ours, these longings and 
vain outreaching desires, is a voice loving as it is 
omnipotent, which says to each one of them, 
" Hitherto shalt thou come and no farther. '^ 



155 




CHAPTER XI. 

OW shall I get Amit Amiel told? 
was Alice^s first thought the morning 
after the party^ when the events of 
the past night, which had seemed at first con- 
fused and dreamlike, began to resolve themselves 
into sober reality. 

Mrs. Grey came down in the middle of the 
morning. She never rose to breakfast now. This 
was the first symptom that Alice noticed of her 
aunt^s slowly-increasing weakness. This winter, 
though scarcely begun, had already been very 
trying to her. The cold seemed to benumb her 
completely both in mind and body, and she often 
was unable to collect her faculties either to con- 



156 

verse with others or listen to them. Stilly how- 
ever^ she retained the calm placid demeanour^ the 
sweet dignity and courtly bearing that had made 
Mistress Amiel Grey one of the most distinguished 
gentlewomen of her day. 

"NoWj Auntie/^ said Alice^ as the old lady 
settled herself in the great arm chair by the fire,, 
with"Bogatzky^s Treasury^^ — the usual companion 
of her morning meditations, — lyii^g open on her 
knee, " I am not going to let you pore over that 
old book all day. Shut it up, and I will tell you 
about the party .^^ 

^' The party/^ and Amit AmieFs eyes had a 
dim, far-away sort of look. ^^ Ah, yes, tell me. 
The Dean was so sorry I could not go ; you see 
I had never seen little Dunnie for such a long 
time, and I was anxious to hear about that poor 
girl. Dminie must be quite a middle-aged man 
now. I always thought he would turn out wild." 

Alice looked up into her aunt^s face, now for 
the first time fearing, she scarcely knew what. 

'^ No, Auntie dear ; the party at Mrs. Scrym- 
geour^s you know, that I was to go to last night. 
I want to tell you about it all. Miss Somers was 
there, and the Canon, and — and Mr. Scrymgeoui'." 



157 

Mrs. Grey paused, as if trying to remember 
something that was long ago past. By-and-by 
the vague look faded from her face, and its 
usual intelligence returned. She was herself 
again, kind and interested and sympathizing. 

^^ Yes, I know now. I suppose my memory is 
failing. I get very confused sometimes. Tell 
me all about it /^ and Aunt Amiel made room for 
Alice to come and sit on the footstool close beside 
her. 

^^It was very pleasant,^^ said Alice, as she 
nestled up to the old lady^s side, and laid her head 
down in her lap. " The people were all very kind 
to me, and it was just as nice as ever it could be. 
We danced, and had charades and music.^^ 

Alice waited, in hopes that some extempore 
current of ideas would come to float her over the 
sandbank of that awkward confession. There was 
not much time to lose ; the morning was wearing 
on, and ere long the expected visitor would arrive 
to press his suit. 

" It was very nice,^^ she faltered out ; " I danced 
with a great many people, and then I had a long 
talk with Miss Fullerton, and after that Mr. 
Scrymgeour took me into the music-room to hear 



158 

some part songs. By-and-by we were left alone, 
and then, Aunt Amiel, Mr. Scrymgeour — I could 
not help it, I don^t know what I said '' 

Here Alice came to a dead standstill, and her 
face told the rest of the story. Aunt Amiel put 
her arms round the young girl, and then rocked 
gently backwards and forwards in her chair for 
some time without speaking. 

'^ Already !^^ she said at last, ^^I did not think 
of this. And do you love him, Alice V 

" I — I donH know, Aunt,^^ said Alice, dropping 
her face lower and lower. ^' I think I like him 
very much, and he has been very kind to me." 

Just then some one passed the window. Alice 
knew who it was, and shot away like an arrow, 
getting safely across the hall before the ser- 
vant admitted Mr. Scrymgeour. She took refuge 
in the study, a cosy little room on the west 
side of the house. This study was set apart for 
Alice^s use. Here she often came to do leather • 
work, or make wax flowers, or dabble in water 
colours ; oftener still to sit in her little low chair 
by the window and build all manner of pleasant 
castles in the air, as she looked out into the 
old-fashioned garden with its boundary of 



ST. olave's. 159 

lilac bushesj beyond which rose the crumbling- 
arches of the Monastery. She found her way to 
that seat now, and folding herself up in the 
green damask window curtain, tried to catch, 
through the deep stilluess of the house, the tones 
of Mr. Scrymgeour^s voice from the oriel room. 

Mistress Amiel Grey received her visitor with a 
grave demeanour, somewhat more stately per- 
haps than was her wont, and then waited for him 
to open his commission, which delicate task he 
performed with exquisite tact and skill. No am- 
bassador negotiating for the hand of a princess 
could have done it more adroitly. 

'^'^ Alice is so young,^^ said Mrs. Grey after a 
long silence. 

"That, my dear madam, is an objection which 
every day renders less insurmountable.^^ And Mr. 
Scrymgeour caressed his whiskers, while a dainty, 
well-bred smile glanced over his handsome coun- 
tenance. He had assumed a sweetly gentle air 
during the whole of the interview, as though 
graciously accepting and making allowance for 
the inevitable infirmities of declining years. 

" She is also very inexperienced,^^ continued 
Aunt Amiel, '^ indeed, a mere child in all mat- 



160 

ters relating to active life. I tliink as yet she 
would try your patience very much^ she has not 
even the experience of most girls of eighteen/^ 

" Pray do not let that influence you, my dear 
Mrs. Grey. I assure you my profound regard 
for your charming niece disposes me to overlook 
all possible faults of youth and inexperience. 
Indeedj the innocent freshness of her mind and 
heart is in my estimation her greatest charm." 

Oh, Mr. Scrymgeour ! how could you say such 
a thing when at that very moment you were 
speculating on the probable amount of Mrs. 
Grey^s life-assurance, and wondering whether 
those massive candelabra on the side board were 
solid silver or only electro-plate. 

But Mrs. Grey was not gifted with ability to 
discern Mr. Scrymgeour^s mental processes. She 
smiled. Alice was very dear to her, and she had 
all a mother's vanity in hearing the young girl 
praised. 

" Do not distress yourself for one moment, dear 
Madam," continued Cuthbert, ^^ by supposing that 
a thought of your niece^s youthful inexperience 
could weigh with me against the truly estimable 
qualities of her character. Her disposition is so 



ST. olave's. 161 

exceedingly loveable that it leaves nothing to be 
desired in any other direction/^ 

'' Thank you^ Mr. Scrymgeour. Alice has been 
a great comfort to me, and I hope she will be the 
same to anyone who has the charge of her." 

After this there was a long pause, during which 
Cuthbert twirled his watch chain, and Mrs. Grey 
gazed out of the window, watching the falling snow 
flakes. There was a perplexed look on her face, a 
very perplexed look. Sometimes it deepened al- 
most into pain. At last she said — 

^^ There are one or two explanations which I 
think it right to give, and which are due to any- 
one who — '^ 

" Certainly, dear Mrs. Grey, certainly," said 
Mr. Scrymgeour briskly, supposing of course that 
Mrs. Grey referred to Alice^s pecuniary expecta- 
tions. " I quite understand that." 

Aunt Amiel scrutinized him through her spec- 
tacles. 

'^ Of course," he continued, "I shall leave the 
arrangement of Miss Grey^s property entirely to 
your own discretion j believe me, dear Madam," — 
and then Cuthbert went through a little piece of 
self-laudation not needing to be repeated here, in 

VOL. II. M 



162 

whicli he put tlie diameter of the world between 
himself and any mercenary designs whatever. 

" It is not Alice's fortune to which I refer/' 
said Mrs. Grey, " that at my decease will be left 
in the care of persons appointed for the purpose, 
and, with the exception of a due marriage- 
settlement, will be at the disposal of her husband. 
There are other matters upon which an 
understanding is desirable. But/' and here Mrs. 
Grey rose from her seat, " pardon me, Mr. 
Scrymgeour, I find myself confused and some- 
what agitated. The suddenness of your proposal 
has startled me. I was unprepared for it. Let 
me have time to consider. I will give you a final 
answer to-morrow morning.'' 

"lam entirely at your service," said Mr. Scrym- 
geour, with a profound bow. " But, Mrs. Grey, 
before I go, let me, at least, have this encourage- 
ment. Your hesitation does not arise from any 
doubt as to my perfect good faith and sincerity V 
" Certainly not,'' and Mrs. Grey held out her 
hand to him. " As the near relative of one of 
my oldest friends, I should have perfect confidence 
in committing Alice to your care." 

Mr. Scrymgeour made a second reverence over 



163 

the small aristocratic hand which he held in his. 

" You will allow me to see Miss Grey before I 
go, will yon not ?^' 

" Certainly, I believe you will find her in the 
little room on the other side of the hall/^ Cuth- 
bert Scrymgeour bowed himself out, and so the 
important interview ended. 

The other tete-a-tete which took place in the 
little study did not come to so speedy a termina- 
tion. There is no need to chronicle the conversa- 
tion which passed between the parties interested. 
Suffice it to say that for a full hour Cuthbert^s 
deep-toned voice, mingled with Alice^s soft cooing 
accents, might have been heard in that room if 
anyone had cared to listen. And when, at last, 
he took his leave of her, she remained for another 
hour just as he had left her, her pretty head 
pressed against the curtains, and a dreamy 
look coming and going upon her face. 

After Mr. Scrymgeour quitted the oriel room, 
Mistress Amiel Grey leaned back in her chair very 
wearily. 

For a long time she sat there, gazing anxiously 
out into the Close. She appeared to be striving 
to solve some difficult problem, or to work her 

M 2 



164 ST, olave's. 

way througli some tangled and vexing labyrinth 
of doubt. Once or twice she looked anxiously 
towards the door_, as if listening for the sound of 
footsteps in the hall, and murmured to herself, 
" He should not have seen her ; it can do no good, 
it can do no good/^ 

About half an hour passed in this way. Then 
she rang the bell. 

^' Lettice, I want you to bring me that cabinet 
that stands in the drawing-room window.^^ 

Lettice brought it, the quaint, old-fashioned 
thing that Alice had ransacked the night Janet 
Bruce came to see them. 

" Close to my chair, Lettice ; there, that is right. 
Now my writing portfolio, and the inkstand from 
the secretary.^^ 

^' Yes, ma^am, and let me bring you a cushion 
for your back. I^m sure you look awful tired. 
We mustnH have Miss Alice going out to no more 
parties if she makes you lie awake of nights, and 
seem so weary all day." 

'^ That will do, Lettice," said Aunt Amiel, as 
the kind-hearted girl brought the cushion and 
placed a hassock for her feet. But who would not 
be kind to Aunt Amiel, who would not serve with 



ST. OLAVE^S. 165 

heart and soul that sweety gentle, patient old lady 
who had never been known to speak a cross word 
to any of her dependants since they came into her 
service ? 

When Lettice had gone_, she put on her spec- 
tacles and opened the cabinet. Everything was 
in its place, except the cordon of pearls which 
Alice had worn at Mrs. Scrymgeour^s party. There 
were the curiously-carved balls from China, the 
fan wrought in delicate lace-work of ivory, the 
old coins, the pieces of family plate, the jewels and 
trinkets from India. But Mrs. Grey lingered over 
none of these. She pressed the secret spring 
which opened that carved panel, and disclosed the 
two drawers. Then she took from her watch- 
chain a tiny key, and opened the upper one. 
There was nothing in it but the letters which Alice 
had found, gathered together in a packet, and tied 
with a piece of faded ribbon. There were seven 
or eight of them, all written in the same hand and 
bearing the same crest, an outstretched hand hold- 
ing a branch of mulberry. 

Mrs. Grey read them through, and chose out 
one. Then she put the rest into the drawer, 
locked it, and pressed the spring which replaced 



166 ST. OLAVE^S. 

the panel. After this she closed the cabinet and 
began to -wTite. 

Mistress Amiel Grey had long ago given up 
general correspondence,, and handed over all duties 
of this kind to Alice. Stilly however^ her writing 
retained all its old daintiness and neatness. It was 
very fine^ very compact^ quite free from the spidery 
strokes and fly-away terminals of modern feminine 
caligraphy. Not a hand of great firmness or deci- 
sion though, still less of vigour and originality ; it 
rather indicated a character gi'aceful, gentle, 
orderly. 

Writing was slower work with her now than it 
used to be, and this letter appeared to be one of 
more than ordinary importance, judging from the 
frequent pauses she made and the expression of 
serious, almost painful thought, into which her 
usually placid features had fixed themselves. She 
had not T^nritten a page when the door opened. 

'' Luncheon is on the table, ma'am." 

" Tell Miss Alice not to wait for me. I shall 
not come in to-day. And, Masters, if anyone 
calls, say that I am particularly engaged." 

^^ Yes, ma'am." 

During a residence of fifty years in St. Olave's, 



167 

Mistress Amiel Grey had not learned to avail her- 
self of its conventional fiction, " not at home/^ 
After the servant had gone she wrote on steadily 
for more than an hour, only resting now and then 
to collect her thoughts or find words to express 
them. When the letter was finished_, she read it 
carefully through, enclosed in it the old yellow 
note she had taken out of the packet, and wrapped 
them both in two or three sheets of blank paper, 
which she sealed in several places and addressed 
thus — 

'^ To my foster child Alice, from Mistress Amiel 
Grey. To be read after my death.''^ 

She placed this letter in the cabinet, murmuring 
to herself, "If he loves her very much it will 
make no dificrence ; it cannot make any difi'er- 
ence.'^ 

This done, she seemed completely worn out. 
She Slink heavily back on the cushions which 
Lettice had placed for her, and fell into a profound 
sleep. The afternoon passed on. By-and-by, 
Alice stole into the room with a shy frightened 
glance at her aunt, and then seeing that the old 
lady slumbered, she crept noiselessly to the oriel 
window, and amused herself by watching the 



168 

falling snow. Already it had whitened all the 
Close, and played strange pranks with the grim 
old gargoyles that struggled out beneath the 
Cathedral eaves,, drifting into their contorted jaws 
and filling the hollow eyes with white balls that 
glared coldly, stonily down. It covered as with a 
filmy lace-work the flowing tracery of the great 
West window ; it tipped each leaf and flower of 
the fretted canopies ; it wreathed itself in fan- 
tastic draperies round the uplifted cross which 
stood out against the dim and dreary sky, and 
folded as if with burial shrouds the saints 
and apostles who kept their silent watch around 
the belfry towers. Alice gazed until her eyes 
grew weary with the purposeless whirl of the fall- 
ing flakes, and it was a relief when at last Aunt 
Amiel roused herself. 

'^ Oh, Auntie,^^ she said, ^' what an immense 
sleep you have had. I have been here more than 
an hour and you have not opened your eyes all 
the time.^^ 

*^ Is it so long, Alice ! I did not know. I am 
very tired,^^ and then she closed her eyes as if 
composing herself to rest again. Alice did not 
notice their vacant, groping sort of look. 



ST. olave's. 169 

'^ NoWj Auntie^ I really shan't let you go to 
sleep again. Let me fetch you a cup of tea ; that 
will freshen you up. Miss Bru^e says she always 
gets one when she feels weary.''' 

" Noj Alice,, not now. Come and sit by me^ I 
want to feel you near me.'' 

She stretched out her hands vaguely, as if feel- 
ing for something in the air. Alice brought a low 
cushion and sat by her, leaning her head upon the 
old lady's knee. 

'' You have been a great comfort to me, Alice/' 
said Aunt Amiel, drawing the young girl closer 
to her. '^I shall miss you very much, my 
darling.'^ 

Alice lifted her bright young face to the aged 
one that bent over her. Could any love of Cuth- 
bert Scrymgeour's be so true as the tender un- 
wearying affection, which ever since she could re- 
member, had beamed upon her from those faithful 
old eyes, so dim and weary now ? 

"Oh, Aunt Amiel, I cannot leave you! I 
will stay with you as long as ever you like. 
Tell him I can never love anybody like you." 

" Alice, my child, my little lost one that came 
to me so many years ago, why did he leave her ? 



170 ST. OLAVE^S. 

He should not "have sent her away, poor girl/' 
" Auntie, what are you saying ? T do believe 
you are not wide awake yet/' 

^'1 am tired, Alice, and the bells make such 
a noise. Say they must stop ringing, it was 
not a proper marriage. He knew it was not 
a proper marriage. They have no business 
to ring ; they must stop ringing, ringing ; stop — 

stop '' 

Alice felt a shiver run through the arm that 
embraced her. Then it fell heavily down. 
The tender words died away in a few broken 
inarticulate murmurs. Aunt Amiel had had a 
paralytic stroke. 



171 




CHAPTER XII. 

, ~ — ,,» ^j. -^^ QY^ Lodge was soon all hurry 
and confusion. The servants ran 
hither and thither, scarcely knowing 
what they did. A messenger was des- 
patched to Dr. Greenwood, and Mrs. Grey was 
carried upstairs into her own bedroom. 

Alice, who had never had any experience of 
illness, would not believe at first that her aunt^s 
seizure was more than an ordinary fainting-fit, 
and vainly strove to chafe back warmth and ani- 
mation to the poor nerveless hands that would 
never have power to clasp her own any more. 
Dr. Greenwood came, but did not give them much 
hope. It was too soon, he said, to pronounce 



172 ST. OLAVE^S. 

decidedly on the nature of the mischief. He 
staid long with them, giving them directions 
about the management of the invalid, and pro- 
mised to return early in the morning, when he 
should be able to form a more reliable opinion. 

The first thought that entered Alice^s mind, in 
the midst of her confusion and distress, was to 
send for David Bruce ; and the remembrance that 
he was too far away to give her any help brought 
with it a feeling of weary, sickening disappoint- 
ment. Then she would have asked Janet to 
come ; that placid face, those quiet, restful ways, 
would have made almost any sorrow less hard to 
bear. But they were very early people at West- 
wood, and, before any messenger could have time 
to reach them, the house would most likely be 
closed for the night. Then, in her extremity, 
she turned to Miss Luckie, the good, kind, un- 
ceremonious little maiden lady, whose heart was 
as open as her lips, and whose very presence, 
wherever it came, was as warm and wholesome as 
a beam of sunshine. Strange that the name of 
Cuthbert Scrymgeour, as one to whom at such a 
time as this she might turn for help and comfort, 
was the last that sviggested itself to Alice. 



ST. olave's. 173 

So Miss Luckie was sent for. She made no 
delay in coming. When Dr. Greenwood arrived, 
he found her by his patient^s bed-side ; prompt, 
calm, self-possessed, ready to receive his instruc- 
tions and give any help that was needed. Miss 
Luckie was just a never-failing fountain of ten- 
derness and good-will. Perhaps, on the whole, it 
was more congenial to the general bent of her 
nature to rejoice with those that rejoiced; but 
that never prevented her from being ready to 
weep with those that wept, and — which is quite 
as needful — to help them to the extent of her 
ability. She had had much experience of illness. 
Most of her own family were already dead, and 
for years she had tended her mother through 
successive strokes of paralysis. All this, whilst 
it had not been able to quench her natural buoy- 
ancy of temperament, had made her very valuable 
at the bed-side of the sick. She had great pre- 
sence of mind too, never got nervous or excited, 
still less depressed and out of sorts at the sight 
of suffering. Added to this, she was swift and 
nimble as a little bird in all her ways, and there 
was a certain brisk gentleness about her which, 
while it soothed, insensibly brightened those with 
whom she worked. 



174 ST. OLAVE^S. 

Alice would faiu have remained all night by 
her annt^s side^ but Miss Luckie would not let 
her. She knew too well that succeeding months, 
perhaps years, of patient, unceasing ministration 
would tax all the young girFs perseverance, and she 
must not overwear herself on the very threshold 
of her new duties. So at the usual time she sent 
her away to her own room. It was close to Aunt 
Amiel^s, only divided by a slight wainscotting, so 
that she was within reach at a moment^s notice, 
if her presence should be needed. 

Alice went without a word of opposition. She 
was docile as a child now, and did whatever they 
told her with a mild, unquestioning obedience 
which was very touching to behold. Indeed, she 
seemed stunned and bewildered by the blow that 
had fallen so suddenly upon them. It had s\vept 
away both will and resolution. She was one of 
those who in sorrow cling helplessly to any, even 
the frailest support, instead of being roused by 
it to intense, active exertion. 

She shivered as she entered the lonely room. 
In the excitement and hurry of that evening, 
Lettice had forgotten to light the fire as usual, or 
draw the curtains ; and the moonbeams streaked 



ST. olave's. 175 

whitely in through the mullioned window, and 
flitted, like ghosts, upon the black oak-panelled 
walls. Alice crept into bed, leaving the lamp 
still burning on the table,, for she was afraid of 
being alone in the dark. Alone in the dark ! 
Poor child ! she was only just beginning to grope 
in the outer shadow of that darkness that comes 
so surely to us all, and in which, unless God be 
with us, we can never be anything else but alone. 
She heard the Cathedi-al clock strike ten, then 
eleven, then twelve, as she lay awake, listening 
nervously for every passing footfall, and magnify- 
ing into terrible meaning every chance sound 
which broke the stillness of the house. Over 
and over again she woke out of troubled sleep 
with a stifling, undefined sense of some- 
thing wrong, something very dreadful that had 
happened ; and then back again, in all its startling 
vividness, came the picture of Aunt Amiel lying 
in the next room, stiflP, motionless, unconscious. 
And in gay contrast to this, as if to mock her 
with its glare and gaiety, flashed over her me- 
mory the remembrance of the night before, its 
dance, and music, and song; the soft, burning 
words of love to which she had listened, the 



176 ST. OLAVE^S. 

clasp of Cuthbert Scrymgeour's hand_, scarce cold 
upon her own. Then^ weary and bewildered, she 
would drop into another short, unquiet slumber, 
only to wake again with the same haunting fear 
as before. 

The night wore itself away ; morning came at 
last, and, with the first dawn of its grey light, 
Alice dressed and went softly to her aunt's room. 
It was with almost a sickening dread that she 
opened the door. "What if the Angel of Death 
should have come and borne away the poor silent 
sleeper, — what if that tender benignant old face 
should already have stiffened down into the rigid 
marble pallor which no kiss of hers could ever 
warm or loosen ? Her hands trembled so that she 
could scarcely lift the latch, and her whole frame 
shook with a vague, shapeless fear. 

But she need not have been so afraid. There was 
nothing in the aspect of the room to remind any- 
one of sickness or death. A bright fire was burn- 
ing cheerily in the wide fire-place, dancing at 
its own reflection in the polished wainscotting. 
Miss Luckie sat by it with her knitting work, just 
as neat and compact as ever, her white satin cap 
ribbons shining in the warm light, her bright 



sf. olave's. 17Y 

little face as fresh as if she were beginning and 
not ending, a ten liours^ vigil of silence and soli- 
tude. The curtains of the bed were closed; Alice 
scarcely breathed as she drew them back and 
gazed eagerly upon the unconscious sleeper. 

Aunt Amiel lay quite still, as if in pleasant 
slumber. There was no expression of pain upon 
her face^ the mouth kept its old peaceful smile, 
not a wrinkle marred the smoothness of the fore- 
head beneath its bands of shining silvery hair. 
She looked as if she might wake at any moment, 
just her own dear self again. 

Whilst Alice was bending over her, she opened 
her eyes. Ah! something was wanting there. It 
was the calm, unthinking, vacant gaze of a new- 
born infant, who looks but sees nothing. As her 
glance wandered slowly round the room, it fixed 
on Alice, and then a very, very faint gleam of re- 
cognition seemed to pass across her face, and she 
tried to speak, but it was only an inarticulate 
murmur. Alice bent over her and kissed her 
many times, but the eyelids closed again, and that 
changeless calm came back to the pale face. 

Dr. Greenwood returned very early in tlic 

VOL. II. N 



178 ST. olave's. 

morning. Aunt Amiel lay just as he had left her 
the night before. 

" Mrs. Grey has had a very quiet night/' said 
Miss Luckie. 

" Ah ! '^ and the doctor looked grave -, " no rest- 
lessness at all ? '^ 

"1^0, not the slightest. She has lain quite 
still, just as you see her now, ever since she was 
brought up.'' 

^^ And has no pain ? " 

" We think not j her face has scarcely moved a 
muscle." 

Dr. Oreenwood shook his head. '' I had rather/' 
said he, ^' that she had been more restless." And 
then in a grave professional sort of way he began 
to examine his patient. 

He staid a long time; then told them faith- 
fully the best and worst of the case The whole 
of Mrs. Grey's left side was paralysed ; the right 
partially so. She would never be able to speak 
again, or to move about from place to place, ex- 
cept as she was carried. And wdth this suspension 
of physical powers, there seemed to have fallen 
upon her mind a profound sleep, which neither 
grief nor pain could disturb, and which would 



179 

never pass 'away until the grand and final change. 
She might live for years in this state_, suffering 
nothings enjoying nothing, cut off from all com- 
munication with the outer world ; just eating, 
breathing, sleeping, — and no more. 

Alice listened quietly whilst Dr. Greenwood 
told her all this. She bore it better than they 
expected. The one great overpowering dread was 
passed ; Aunt Amiel would not die. Anything else 
seemed easy to be endured, if only she could look 
upon the dear remembered face, and fondle in 
her own the passive helpless hands. She would not 
be alone, and to be alone was the very thing which 
of all others, Alice most dreaded. Life could not 
be quite dark, nay, it could never be aught but 
quiet and almost happy, so long as no churchyard 
grass covered Aunt AmieFs head, and no grave- 
stone bore her name upon its marble front. 

It is well for us that we cannot at once appre- 
hend the full bitterness and sting of any sorrow 
which God in His infinite mercy suffers to come 
upon us. Just so much of it as we can understand 
we take and suffer, sometimes patiently, sometimes 
witli tears and sharp unavailing murmurs. But net 
until months and it may be years have passed, can 

N Ji 



180 

we look back and see how dark has been the road 
over which our weary steps have journeyed. 
Alice^s first gush of sadness was over, and she 
thought the bitterness of death was past. It was 
well for her she did not know that her feet were 
but just passing the boundary line that divided 
her young unthinking girlhood from the great 
wide untried track of life^ with all its possible 
shadows and unrest. 



181 



CHAPTER XIII. 

HW41S' -^-^ news of Mistress Amiel Grey^s 
kME^I i^l^^ss soon spread amongst the Close 
■»««»SI families. The doctor^s carriage seldom 
stopped at one of the tall old-fashioned houses 
without all the rest speedily becoming acquainted 
with the why and wherefore of such a proceeding. 
The Dean's lady was first to hear of the events and 
she at once sent a message across to Chapter 
Court J which reached the Archdeacon's widow just 
as that lady and her nephew were sitting down to 
breakfast. 

Cuthbert's heart was very shallow, but it was 
not hard. His first impidse was to set off at once 
to the Old Lodge and ofier Alice such consolation 



182 ST. OLAVE^S. 

as lay within his reach. But Mrs. Scrjmgeour 
objected. 

'^ My dear Cuthbert, I beg you will do no such 
thing. In cases of this kind a family is always be- 
sieged by inquirers whose well-meant but ill- 
timed attentions are anything but acceptable. 
Any sympathy which you may have it in your 
power to offer to Miss Grey will be more suitable 
when the first excitement of her aunt^s illness has 
passed over. I will send the servant across with 
cards and condolences the first thing, and nothing 
further is needfiil to-day." 

Thus Mrs Scrymgeour, with cast-iron accents 
and a decisive wave of her hand. Cuthbert al- 
lowed himself to be convinced, and the two sat 
down to a sumptuously appointed breakfast table, 
whilst Alice was keeping her watch beside the bed 
of Aunt Amiel. 

The dining room at Chapter Court never looked 
remarkably cozy, and this morning it seemed less 
so than usual. The snow that had been falling 
steadily all night, lay in heavy drifts upon the 
frames and deep cornices of the windows. The 
sky was grey and leaden, and behind the white 
undulating pall which overspread the Close, trod- 



ST. qlaveV. 183 

den yet by scarce a solitary footstep^ the Minster 
reared its huge irregular bulk, looking terribly 
grim and swarthy. There was no sunlight to 
play through the heavy crimson curtains_, or glance 
upon the carved oak panelling, or lighten up the 
stiff old family portraits which were marshalled in 
solemn rank and file down the long narrow room . 
all looked grey and cold and irregular. Even 
the Archidiaconal cat seemed to have a vague per- 
ception of the prevailing uncomfortableness of 
things, and from time to time, turned towards her 
mistress with a ludicrously disgusted expression 
efface. Mrs. Scrymgeour was attired to match 
the morning, in a severely strong-minded dressing 
gown of brown serge, unsustained by crinoline, 
and her grey curls, very frizzly from having just 
been released from their papers, bristled fiercely on 
each side of her spare colourless cheeks. 

'^ Poor little Alice V^ said Cuthbert, helping 
himself to another e^^. " She^ll be terribly 
cut up about this affair. I believe she thought all 
the world about that old aunt of hers.^' 

" I have no doubt that the event will ultimately 
be of considerable benefit to Miss Grey,'' replied 
the Archdeacon's widow, in her usual measured 



I8-i ST. OLAVl!^S. 

tones, a little stiffer perhaps by reason of the state 
of the atmosphere, " bnt don't distress yourself, 
Cuthbert. I assure you I have fully met the re- 
quirements of the occasion. The parlour-maid 
has gone across this moment with cards /'' 

If one of her dearest friends had suddenly been 
plunged into the depths of adversity, Mrs. Scrym- 
g^our would have forwarded cards and condolences, 
and on no account thought of offering the balm of 
personal sympathy until the stipulated period for a 
morning call. 

^' If I were asked to give my opinion,' ' she con- 
tinued, quietly stirring her coffee, ^' I should say 
that Mrs. Grey has always been foolishly indulgent 
in the personal management of her niece, and the 
event which we are called upon to deplore, though 
exceedingly painful, will, I am convinced, issue in 
the material improvement of Alice's character." 

" She's such a child too, poor little thing," said 
Cuthbert, in a softened tone ; the thought of Alice 
bathed in tears, as he had no doubt she would be, 
touched his heart. " I wonder how she bears 
it." 

"I think I have told you before, Cuthbert," and 
Mrs. Scrymgeour paused to button the sleeves Qf 



ST. OLAVE^S. 185 

her dressing-gown, " I think I have hinted to you 
before that Alice^s great defect is want of self- 
reliance. She has been thought for, and cared for, 
and petted, until her character has become quite 
deteriorated ; but I anticipate that her ge- 
neral deportment wiU be greatly improved by this 
dispensation.^^ 

Cuthbert thought that her deportment would do 
very well as it was, but he went on buttering his 
eggs in silence. The event had not affected his 
appetite materially. 

'^Understand me, Cuthbert, I feel the pro- 
foundest sympathy for Alice, and I intend to avail 
myself of the earliest suitable opportunity of ex- 
pressing my entire commiseration with her in the 
calamity which has befallen her respected aunt . 
But,^^ and here the strings of Mrs. Scrymgeour's 
voice relaxed and took on a decidedly buoyant 
tone, ^' how exceedingly fortunate, my dear Cuth- 
bert, that you called upon the old lady yesterday 
and got a favourable reply. I suppose the matter 
may now be considered definitely arranged." 

" I don^t know, aunt ; it doesnH answer to 
count one^s chickens before they^re hatched." 
Mrs. Scrymgeour winced. She had a deep- 



186 

rooted aversion to proverbial expressions; she con- 
sidered them essentially vulgar. But the solecism 
was allowed to pass unrebuked. 

" The old lady didn^t give me a decided answer/' 
continued Cuthbert. ^' She wanted a day or two 
to consider before coming up to the scratch/' 

" Of course her hesitation did not arise from the 
faintest possible doubt as to your eligibility ?'' 

"Oh, no/' and the B.A. stroked his whiskers 
complacently ; " she allowed,^ of course, that I was 
quite up to the mark ; in fact, the last words she 
said to me were about having perfect confidence in 
committing the young lady, &c., &c. — that style of 
thing, you know. Aunt." 

^^ And I think I understood you that she men- 
tioned money matters in a way that was perfectly 
satisfactory." 

'^ All right. Whole of the property to come to 
Alice, with suitable settlements. A nice little 
penny too ; why that oak furniture is worth a mint 
of money, and the estate at Norlands, if it's unen- 
cumbered ' ' 

" Of course it is, Cuthbert ; Mrs. Grey's pro- 
perty is entirely in her own hands." 

"Would make a man independent. Blanche 



1ST 

Egerton^s fortune is a mere pepper-corn to it/' 

^^ Miss Egerton lias expectations from her grand- 
father, Cutkbert, whicli, if reports are correct, are 
very considerable. But the old man might marry ^, 
and then of course she would have nothing but her 
mother's marriage settlement, which is trifling, 
not more than a couple of hundreds a year, and: 
that is not worth your attention/' 

" I rather like a dark girl^ though/' said Cuth-^ 
bert, balancing the silver spoon on his fore- 
finger. 

Mrs. Scrymgeour ignored this little piece of con- 
fidence on the part of the nephew, and continued, 
in a business like matter-of-fact sort of way — 

^^ Ample means are indispensable for a clergy- 
man. I should be dreadfully annoyed, Cuthbert, 
were I to see you hampered with a wife who would 
not be able to advance your interests in a pecuniary 
point of view. I consider it the duty of every 
young man to exercise a proper amount of discre- 
tion in selecting both birth and fortune, especially 
a young man in the Church. Indeed, if I were 
asked to give my opinion, I should say that I am per- 
fectly disgusted with the blindness evinced by mul- 
titudes of young men of the present day, who sur- 



188 

render themselves to a pretty face or an agreeable 
temper or a pleasing disposition, as if these merely- 
natural external qualifications could assist in 
housekeeping or sustain a position. Your uncle, 
Cuthbert, the late Archdeacon, was entirely 
superior to these paltry, and as I may add, perfectly 
immaterial, qualities/^ 

Mrs. Scrymgeour need scarcely have troubled 
herself to make this last statement. Any one who 
looked at the Archdeacon^s widow as she sat at 
the fore-front of the breakfast-table, in her brown 
serge dressing-gown and rampant grey curls, 
would have arrived unaided at the conclusion that 
the ^' immaterial qualities" of good temper, pleasant 
disposition, and personal attraction, had not 
swayed the discreet Dr. Scrymgeour in his choice 
of a partner for life. 

" I am astonished, Cuthbert,^^ she continued, 
"1 am dismayed at the moral obliquity which 
leads young men of birth and family to bestow the 
honour of their heart and hand so indiscriminately. 
It violates all my feelings of — were you speaking 
to me V 

" A little more sugar. Aunt, if you please.'^ 

It is doubtful^whether, in preferring this request, 



189 

Cutlibert had reference to the expressed juice of a 
certain West Indian vegetable, or whether he sug- 
gested the increased cultivation of that saccharine 
portion of human nature which, in his aunt's de- 
velopment, was not, to say the least of it, redun- 
dant. Mrs. Scrymgeour, however, understood that 
he wished for another lump of sugar in his coffee, 
and therefore supplied him with one. She then 
returned to the subject in hand. 

" Therefore, as there was an understanding be- 
tween you on both these subjects, I infer that Mrs. 
Grey^s hesitation arose from the natural indecision 
of her character. You are aware, Cuthbert, that 
she is not a woman of great strength of mind ; and 
a proposal so advantageous in every respect to the 
position and happiness of her niece, would naturally 
disturb the equilibrium of her thoughts, and cause 
her to request time for reflection.^' 

'' Fact, Aunt ; you^re about right. Indeed, she 
seemed quite come down upon when I mentioned 
it to her.'' 

^' Of course, it was perfectly natural ; and, on 
the whole, I respect her for not appearing too 
anxious to get her niece comfortably settled. It 
annoys me to see those who have the care of young 



190 ST. ola-ve's. 

people so unwarrantably eager to get them off 
their hands. Mrs. Colonel Spurge, now, has reaUy 
done everything with those daughters of hers, but 
put them up to auction ; and Mrs. Crumpet too, 
though I have the greatest respect for her j still, 
if I were asked to give my opinion, I should feel 
it my duty to say that she brings her daughter 
forward in -a manner that is not in accordance 
with my views. You will go across to the Old 
Lodge to-day, I suppose ?" 

^^Well, Aunt, yes,^' replied Cuthbert, whose 
affection seemed to have cooled down during the 
course of the conversation, until it reached the 
Archidiaconal level. "Of course; she'll expect 
me to turn up before long, only I hope I shan^t 
be expected to pay a pastoral visit to the old lady. 
That sort of thing isnH in my line, it really isn''t.^^ 

"Of course, Cuthbert, if you are requested to 
do so, the least that can be expected from you as 
a clergyman, is that you should address a few re- 
marks to her.^' 

" But I'm so confoundedly stupid at doing the 
proper thing to sick people. If one could just get 
off now with a piece or two out of the Burial 
Service." 



ST. OLAVE^S. 191 

''Cuthbert! Cutlibert !'' cried the ArcMea- 
coness, in a state of agitation^ " what are yon say- 
ing — the Burial Service to a sick person ?" 

^'Oh, I say the Burial Service ?— well, if I 
did, I meant the Visitation for the Sick, which 
comes to pretty much the same thing ; but you 
know ifs such a bore having to sympathize and 
all that sort of thing, when really you don^t know 
a fraction about it. And then ill people always 
think they must begin and go through the whole 
story, and you^re forced to sit still and listen/^ 

'^ That will not be the case at the Old Lodge,^' 
said Mrs. Scrymgeour. '^ Mrs. Grey has, if I 
understand correctly, lost the power of speech, 
and is unable even to reply to anything that is 
said to her." 

" Ah, indeed," and Mr. Scrymgeour seemed a 
little bit touched ; '' well, in that case, it^s no use 
my saying anything at all. But here comes the 
postman. Good-bye, Aunt, I^m off now. I ex- 
pect to be back to dinner ; but if I don^t come, 
you needn^t wait for me." 

He called at the Old Lodge in the afternoon of 
that day. The servant showed him into the oriel 
room, w)jich remained just as he had left it the 



192 ST. olave's. 

morning before. There was even yet a little damp 
place on the carpet where the snow had melted 
from his boots whilst he sat talking to Annt Amiel. 
Her great easy chair was in its usual place, the 
loose cushion at the back still retaining the im- 
pression her head had made while it lay there in 
that last,, heavy, forewarning slumber. Her oaken 
cabinet stood by the chair with all her writing 
materials upon it undisturbed, the blotting-paper 
bearing the reversed print of that superscription to 
Alice, and the pen as it had been laid with the ink 
yet wet in it upon the silver st an dish. There were 
a few grey^ burnt-out ashes in the grate, and the 
room had an unkept, comfortless sort of look. 

These things^ speaking as they did to Cuthbert 
of the great grief which had fallen upon that 
house, brought over him a strange hush and solem- 
nity. He seemed to be standing within the shadow 
of death, and no one standing there can be other 
than thoughtful. 

Alice came to him. The first violence of her 
grief had passed away and she looked quite calm, 
but there was still a quiver in her voice as if the 
tears lay very near, and a single word might bring 
them gushing down. As she glanced at the empty 



193 

chair standing by the fireplace;, she shuddered. 

^^ Do not let us stay here, Mr. Scrymgeour. I 
will take you into the study.^^ 

He followed her into the pleasant little room on 
the other side of the hall. Here, everything 
looked warm and comfortable and homelike. Its 
belongings did not speak to him so painfully of 
death and danger. By degrees the awe which 
had come over him wore off. Still he felt ill at 
ease. He did not know what to say. He wished 
Alice would burst into tears, that he might kiss 
them away, and begin to pet and fondle her as it 
seemed most natural to do. But she sat in her 
low chair by the fire looking so hushed and calm, 
her head bent down, her eyelids drooping until 
their long lashes almost touched her cheek He 
thought she would have thrown herself into his 
arms, and wept away her grief there. Perhaps, 
had he come to her in its first bitterness, she 
might have done so, and then their hearts would 
have drawn more closely together; but all that 
was passed now. 

How strangely any great trouble seems to part \ ^-cc-xx^L 
our friends from us. In joy and gladness they 
were our equals, we could walk side by side 

VOL. II. o 



104 ST. OLAVE^S. 

with them ; but when the angel of sorrow stretches 
out his hand, it is to lift them where we cannot 
reach. Henceforth they walk above us in a world 
whose air is too pure for us to breathe. 

This, or something like this, Cuthbert Scrym- 
geour felt as he watched Alice sitting there by the 
firelight. Such a distance in one little day seemed 
to have come between them. She was the first 
to speak. 

^' You have heard of our great grief, then.^^ 

Her voice was very low, but Cuthbert thought 
it had never sounded so sweet before. He could 
find no way to answer her. The commonplace 
words of comfort which he had framed, died 
upon his lips ; they seemed too utterly vain and 
idle. All that he could do was to draw his chair 
a little nearer to her, and take her hand in 
his. 

She let him take it, but it lay moveless in his 
grasp, not nestling lo^dngly down as if glad to be 
there. She went on with a sad quiet sort of self- 
possession : — 

'^We think Aunt Amiel doesn^t sufi^er much. 
She lies quite still, but she can't speak to us at all, 
and I don't think she understands anything we 



ST. OLA.VE^S. 195 

saj to lier. Dr. Greenwood says it will never be 
different until she dies. It is so sad.^' 

Cutlibert vainly strove to think of something 
that would do to say to her, but nothing came. 
If she had been gay he could have laughed with 
her_, if petulant he could have humoured her, if 
sentimental he could have quoted poetry by the 
half-hour ; but in this great sorrow which had 
come down upon her, he was dumb. 

He put his arm round her at last, and sai(^ ten- 
derly, — " Poor little Alice, poor little Alice ! ^^ 

She looked up in his face. It was kind and 
gentle, for indeed he was very sorry for her. 
Something in its expression seemed to unlock her 
heart, for she laid her head down upon the hand 
that held hers, and presently he felt the hot tears 
dropping one by one upon his fingers. 

" You will let me come and see you very often, 
will you not?^^ he said, in that luring musical 
voice of his. 

She only answered by pressing her face closer 
to him and laying her other hand in his. Just 
then Dr. Greenwood^s carriage drove to the door, 
and Alice started up to meet him. Cuthbert held 
her in his arms for a moment or two and kissed her 

o 2 



196 ST. olave's. 

very tenderly. Then he left her, and when he got 
out into the Close once more, and tramped the 
snow under his feet, he felt like a man who has 
got through a somewhat troublesome ordeal, and, 
all things considered, acquitted himself as well as 
could be expected. 



197 






CHAPTER XIV. 

|T is strange how soon the sharp edge of 
any grief wears off, any grief at least 
which is sent from God, and not brought 
on by our own blind self-will and obstinacy. 

Household trials that seemed at first so very 
bitter and unendurable,, by degrees sink quietly 
into the current of daily home life, and at last 
make scarce a ripple on its still waters. By-and-by 
Aunt Amiel^s room became a bright spot in the 
house. Alice learned to look without tears, nay 
with a certain thankfulness at the poor patient 
face, with its never-changing smile of unconscious 
peace. The tumult passed away, the alarm, the 
suspense, and things came back again to 



198 ST. OLAVE^S. 

their former quiet track. Only a few neces- 
sary changes were made in the establishment 
at the Old Lodge. A trusty servant was sent to 
take charge of Norlands,, and Mrs. Cromarty came 
to the Lodge to attend upon Mistress Amiel Grey. 
She was a large^ strongly-built, powerful woman, 
able to lift the invalid in and out of bed, and 
wheel her from room to room in her large couch 
chair. 

Miss Luckie never returned to her maiden nest 
in the Low Gardens. Day after day Alice begged 
her to stay "just a little longer.-" Even after the 
home sunshine had come back, and that which 
the estimable little lady supplied was no longer 
needful, Alice seemed to require some sort of 
stay and protection. No change except for death 
was likely to take place in Mistress Amiel Grey, 
and she had no near connections who could come 
and occupy her position in the Old Lodge. So 
after some consideration it was arranged that 
Miss Luckie should take up her permanent resi- 
dence there, partly to overlook the general 
management of the house, and partly to be a com- 
panion and protector for Alice. 

On the same floor as Aunt AmiePs bed -room, 



199 

was a pleasant little apartment looking towards 
the south. It had a wide lattice casement,, round 
which vines and ivy climbed ; indeed there was 
scarce a window in all the Lodge which was not 
thus adorned. This little room was fitted up for 
Mrs. Grey. Alice had it re-painted and hung 
with choice pictures — not that the poor invalid 
could derive any gratification from them, but it 
cheered her own loving heart to feel that even in 
their unconscious gaze, those eyes should only 
rest on things lovely and pleasant. Here Mrs. 
Grey was brought morning by morning, and here 
Alice began to pass the chief part of her time, 
gatherinsj round her the little belongings 
of her daily life, and learning patiently to 
calm her young spirit down to its new, untried 
track. 

Any one going into the Old Lodge three weeks 
after that first terrible night, would scarcely have 
known that a shadow had so recently passed over 
it. When once the astonishment and perplexity 
had worn away, it seemed no longer painful even 
to watch Aunt Amiel ; for, waking and sleeping, the 
same deep, unbroken peace ever brooded upon 
her face. He who had caused to come down 



200 ST. OLAVE^S. 

upon her that strange soul slumber, mercifully 
ordered that no thought of pain or weariness 
should ever find leave to mar it. 

People tell us that in death the last image 
which fell upon the eye is retained, and that could 
we lift the unconscious lids the picture would be 
there. So in this living death of Mistress Amiel 
Grey, it seemed as if the last impression left 
upon the mind had lingered there, and graven its 
memorial in the still face that changed not from 
that look of calm, benignant, trustful love which 
met Alice's upturned gaze just before the stroke 
came that so completely severed her aunt from 
all human sympathy or intercourse. AVas it so 
that this human intercourse being sealed up, that 
other door was opened which bars Heaven from 
mortal sight, and so the soul lived Godwards 
only, and never earthwards, having no more any 
voice, or look, or gesture, that human skill might 
interpret ? 

And thus Alice Grey's life, though somewhat 
clouded from its first sunny freshness, was yet 
full of a certain quiet happiness. Or even, had 
her home been less peaceable, what life can be 
anything but happy so long as it is sunned by the 



201 

promise of human love^ and so long as that love 
is steadily trusted ? 

Alice^s engagement with Mr. Scrymgeour was 
accepted as a matter of course. Aunt AmieFs 
last expression respecting it had been one of 
approval and acquiescence. None had any right 
to step in between them now. The slight hesita- 
tion which she had manifested on the morning 
of their interview^, had passed away from Cuth- 
bert^s mind. Alice had beauty^ family, and 
fortune, these were quite enough for him; and 
Mistress Amiel Grey^s present mental incapacity- 
secured him from the loss of the prize. 

As for Alice, she was a warm-hearted affectionate 
little creature. She gave him all she had to give. 

It was just her happiness to be petted and 
caressed, and made much of; all this Cuthbert 
did, and she asked nothing else. Then she was 
very proud of him. He was so handsome, so 
noble ; he looked so nice as he stood up in the 
crimson-lined reading-desk of the Cathedral, 
chanting out in that grand, deep voice of his, the 
church prayers : his white robes flowing round 
him, the light from the stained windows tipping 
and goldening his glossy hair. And it made the 



202 ST. OLAVE^S. 

little tiling feel quite important to think that 
he, this handsome, accomplished, fascinating 
Cuthbert Scrymgeour, this hero for whom half 
the Close young ladies had sighed their hearts 
away, should have turned from them all and chosen 
her, the little girl Alice, to be his wife. 

And to tell the truth, Cuthbert was really very 
fond of her. Her pure, unschooled, innocent 
ways could not but be very refreshing to one so 
steeped in the shows and frivolities of fashionable 
life. He loved her as much as he could love any- 
thing . It pleased him to be looked up to, admired, 
and wondered at. He liked to display to her his 
knowledge of life, his talents — what he had of 
them — his accomplishments, noting the while her 
smile of innocent surprise. It made him feel very 
big and very important ; and how many men in 
a thousand are there to whom the consciousness 
of their own superiority is not a balm most sweet 
and precious? Besides, she was something to 
play with, one of those gentle, fondling little 
creatures, who just seem made to be kissed and 
flattered and caressed, and then, when they grow 
old — but who ever thought of bright-haired Alice 
Grey growing old ? 



ST. olave's. 203 

But for the exercise wliicli Aunt Amiers 
perfectly dependent state gave to the higher, 
nobler part of Alice's nature, she might have grown 
vain and frivolous. She was very much the crea- 
ture of circumstances — just what others made her. 
David Bruce's influence was withdrawn now ; his 
skilful touch no longer woke from the chords of her 
heart the music which had promised to be so 
sweet. There was no one to make her feel as he 
had done, how little she was, how noble she might 
be. Only in Aunt AmieFs presence her soul 
found room to grow. The slight, and sometimes 
almost unconscious shadow, which that living 
death cast upon the house, kept Alice Grey from 
a death more mournful still, even the death of all 
noble and heavenward thought. 

Soon after Miss Luckie was located at the Old 
Lodge, and things had once more got into a 
smooth track under her brisk, active management. 
Dr. Greenwood sent Alice away to the sea-side for 
change of air. She had tended her aunt very 
imweariedly, and the close confinement had begun 
to tell upon her health. A place on the southern 
coast was recommended, and Mrs. Scrymgeour — 
who since Aunt Amiel's illness, had installed 



204 ST. olave's. 

herself as cliaperone to Miss Grey — selected 
Brighton, taking into acconnt with admirahle 
prudence and foresight its vicinity to the small 
town where her nephew was just then fixed. 

They went in the middle of January, intending 
to remain a fortnight or three weeks, if Aunt 
Amiel did not appear to feel Alice's absence too 
much, and return in time for the Festival, which 
was to take place some time during the month of 
February. Cuthbert had again been summoned 
southwards to be a substitute for his clerical friend. 
He would be in the neighbourhood during most of 
their stay, and Mrs. Scrymgeour trusted to his 
frequent intercourse with Alice so to cement the 
attachment between them, that it might speedily 
ripen into the union on which she had fixed her 
mind. 



205 




CHAPTER XV. 

3 

I ND how wasDavid Bruce faring through 

J all this winter ? 
I 

3 The long strife was over now. For- 
tune had been tardy in opening her golden doors, 
but she gave him entrance at last. His Oratorio 
was well received in London. The leading jour- 
nals spoke of it as a complete success, a brilliant 
and unquestioned triumph. The best musical 
circles received him into their midst ; titled 
people, not a few, found their way to those quiet 
little chambers of his in St. Clement's Inn : from 
many a silken- curtained boudoir and gilded 
saloon aristocratic voices warbled forth the exqui- 
site solos and chorales of " Jael," and its composer. 



206 ST. OLAYE^S. 

had he so chosen^ might have been night after 
night the idol of Belgravian drawing-rooms_, or the 
star of fashionable soirees musicales. His fame 
reached Alice amidst the brilliance and glare of 
her Brighton life. With a shy, proud sort of 
pleasure, she read his praise in the public prints, 
and filled her little pocket-book with admiring 
'^ notices ^' cut from the principal musical papers. 
But she never spoke of him to Cuthbert 
Scrymgeour. Ever since that September evening 
when the ^^ person ^^ had been ignominiously 
dropped on the Norlands road, Cuthbert had 
avoided any mention of David Bruce ; nor was it 
likely now, when the St. Olave^s organist was a 
man no longer to be ignored, but envied, that the 
subject should be renewed. So Alice thought 
her own thoughts, and pondered over her 
own little memories, and held fast in her child 
heart the remembrance of this man, whose influ- 
ence had been unconsciously the awakener of her 
life. 

Over and over again the Oratorio of " Jael '' 
was performed before crowded London audiences, 
under the conductorship of its composer ; and then 
came apphcations for its performance in the 



ST. olave's. 207 

" provinces/^ as the metropolitans call that geo- 
graphical district which has the misfortune to lie 
outside their own centre of civilization. Requests 
came_, too^ from some of the great musical cities 
on the Continent^ but these, for the present, 
David Bruce declined. After the first great 
success, one thought ever lay in his heart, one 
desire shaped itself steadily out above all ambi- 
tious schemes or longings; and this thought, 
this desire was, that at the Festival of St. 
Olave^s, Alice Grey might listen to his Oratorio. 
And so, indeed, it was. 

The good folks of the little Cathedral city of 
St. Olave^s were somewhat scandalized at the 
sudden and brilliant success of the Scottish alien 
who had come and settled himself down amongst 
them. They had rather his laurels had been 
won more quietly, with more judicious decorum. 
They had no notion of people, especially strangers, 
leaping at one bound to the top of the social 
ladder ; or, indeed, presuming to set foot there at 
all, unless born to the position. The rank and 
status of the Bruce family had long ago been 
decided in solemn conclave by the Position Com- 
mittee, and, to say the least, it was annoying, if 



208 ST. olave's. 

not humiliating, to be constrained to reconsider 
the verdict, and, after all, leave cards at West- 
wood. Still, on the other hand, St. Olave^s had a 
reputation for good taste in the fine art line, and it 
would never do to ignore a production upon which 
London audiences had set the seal of their ap- 
proval. If only the metropolis had received 
'^ Jael ^^ coolly, or with a judicious amount of 
moderated approbation, then the Cathedral city 
might have preserved its dignity intact, nor been 
constrained to do homage to a man who owned 
neither descent nor position. But the teeming 
thousands of Exeter Hall and St. James's, had 
given the key-note of public opinion, and the 
provinces must follow in their train. 

St. Olave's was slow, very slow, in awarding 
honour on its own responsibility. Deliberateness 
came next to descent in its social creed. If a 
man came down from town with the ticket of 
merit sewed to his coat, and printed withal in 
clear, unmistakable characters, well and good. 
St. Olave's was quite ready to endorse the opinions 
of the metropolis in matters of art, and could trot 
along, with wondrous correctness, over a ready- 
made tramway. But the brightest genius in the 



ST. OLAVE^S. 209 

world; who came to it unknown and unrecom- 
mended, miglit wait at the doors of its respecta- 
bility long enough before his talents procured 
him either fame or five-pound notes. Most Hkely^ 
had this much-talked-of Oratorio been performed 
for the first time, before a select assembly of the 
Close families, it would have fallen quietly to the 
ground, never to rise again ; but, having won its 
own place and gained its own renown, the St. 
Olave^s people decided, after much deliberation, 
to rally round the composer, and say to the world 
at large, ^'^ See how we appreciate genius ! See 
how we recognize the glorious birthright of in- 
tellect.^' Well done. Cathedral city of St. Olave's! 
And so, one chill January morning, as David 
Bruce sat over his solitary breakfast in those dim 
little Clement's Inn chambers, a document was 
handed to him bearing the St. Olave's Cathedral 
crest — a padlock and golden key — and signed by 
the proper authorities. In which document Mr. 
Bruce was requested to do the city of St. Olave's 
the honour of conducting his Oratorio of " Jael ^' 
at the approaching Musical Festival. Moreover, he 
was informed that, as a mark of the honour which 
the city wished to confer upon so distin;^ri:shed a 

VOL. II. p 



210 

composer^ tlie fourtli day — ^the great day of the Fes- 
tival^ the day sacred to aristocracy and the county 
families — ^would be reserved for his convenience. 

David Bruce vrould have been something more, 
or perhaps something less than a man, if, as he 
read this important missive, stiiBP as it was with 
civic and ecclesiastical dignity, a flush of pardon- 
able pride had not passed over his rugged 
face. But the pride soon faded out, and there 
came in its place the quiet light of content, the 
grand, sweet consciousness of hope fulfilled; not 
ambitious hope, not the greed of name, or fame, 
or gain, but the hope that lies nearer the heart 
of a true man than any of these — ^the hope which 
nestles upon the altar of hearth and home, and 
seeks neither gold nor glory, but only love, to 
keep it ever warm and bright. 

So it was arranged that " Jael '' should be per- 
formed in the Hall of Guild at the approaching 
grand Musical Festival ; and, if the spirits of the 
departed are permitted to revisit the earth, that 
majestic piece of Hebrew womanhood might have 
walked the streets of St. Olave's, and seen her 
name, in letters as long as a man^s arm, at every 
corner and turning of the old city. 



ST. olave's. 211 

David Bruce TVent to London^ tliat grey De- 
cember mornings an unknown man — nothing but 
a man. No hand save Janet^s was stretched out 
for a farewell clasp. As he leaned back on the 
hard and not over-clean panels of the railway 
carriage, and wrapped his weU-worn Highland 
tartan over his wasted form, no voice but hers 
cheered him ; and her face, in its pale, quiet 
patience, was the only one which had any smile 
for him. He came back one of the great com- 
posers of his time, a man whom the world de- 
lighted to honour ; before him, fame, wealth, 
success; behind him, the memory of toil over- 
past and triumph achieved ; behind him, too, and 
far enough away now, all the scorn, and quiet 
contempt, and misappreciation against which he 
had battled so long. 

Yes; it was very amusing to note how the 
worthy denizens of the Position Committee re- 
adjusted the social relations of David Bruce and 
his sister. Alice Grey^s card had lain like a soli- 
tary nest-egg, lonely and unprotected in the little 
papier-mache tray on the table in the centre of 
the Westwood parlour. Now others, not a few, 
were deposited around it, promising at no distant 

p2 



212 ST. olave's. 

period to hatcli a goodly brood of acquaintance. 
Those of the Dean's lady and Elene Somers were 
the first to make their appearance; next came 
Mrs. Scrymgeour's^ sent in an envelope all the 
way from Brighton ; then that of the Canon-in- 
Kesidence ; and ere a month of Da"vdd's fame had 
elapsed,, each of the Close families had left a 
pasteboard representative of its extreme friend- 
liness. Mr. Bruce and his quiet sister no longer 
walked the Cathedral Close unrecognized — nay 
morC; avoided. Aristocratic hands were held out 
to clasp theirs^ and even the Bishop himself 
thought it not scorn to traverse the smooth green 
sward of that sacred enclosure^ side by side with 
a man who had lunched with dukes and dined 
with gartered peers. 

It was astonishing too, the different construction 
which the polite world began to put upon Mr. 
Bruce^s habits and general demeanour. What 
used to be " such insufferable brusquerie/^ was 
now only manly indifference ; that rare gift of 
silence, so fast inwrought into his nature and ere- 
while stigmatized as " boorish awkwardness and 
stupidity/' turned out to be nothing but dignified 
reserve, perfectly natural in a man of such exalted 



213 

talent, and on tlie whole rather fascinating than 
otherwise. Success in life is a wonderful help 
towards making manifest the latent excellencies of 
a man's character. It is like the translucent 
wave, which, washing over some dry bit of agate, 
brings out its rosy tints and azure veinings. By- 
and-by it even seemed that this ungainly Scotch 
pebble, so long stranded high and dry upon the 
barren sands, might be counted not unmeet to 
wear a golden setting, and take its place amongst 
the polished gems of the social collection ; for pru- 
dent Close mammas no longer forbade their mar- 
riageable daughters to promenade the vicinity of 
West wood Cottage, or cautioned them against the 
slightest approach to friendly relations with the 
staid, quiet, exceedingly unstylish looking lady 
who crossed the Close weekly on her way to the 
almshouses. 

It was the night of David Bruce's return from 
London. 

Ah, what a pleasant coming home that was ! 
How cosy the little parlour looked, bathed in the 
warm red fire light ; how tempting the genuine 
Scottish array of scones and crisp brown oat- cake 



214 ST. OLAVE^S. 

which Tibbie had spread out on the damask 
covered table ; and the old Scotchwoman herself, 
so different to the draggled London housemaid, — 
with her snow-white frilled cap^ tied down with 
black ribbon, her kerchief of checkered gingham, 
her grey linsey sabbath gown, put on in honour of 
the ^' Maister/^ — how she seemed to link the 
household with those long-ago Perth days, whose 
memory was so green and fragrant still. 

David Bruce did not come back from London 
empty-handed as he went. The little portmanteau, 
capacious enough for all his worldly goods on the 
southern journey, was accompanied homewards by 
a stout portly trunk, which was dragged in and 
unpacked by Janet on the hearth-rug after tea, 
whilst David sat in his great arm-chair and watched 
the process. Only before she began, he took out 
and laid carefully away in his own desk, a tiny 
little morocco case, such as jewellers keep their 
treasures in. 

There was a great burnous cloak of their own 
clan- tartan for his sister ; he had ransacked half 
the shops in Oxford Street to find it, for amongst 
the few things Janet ever longed after, was a 
skreed of the Bruce plaid, just to wear for the 



ST. olave's. 215 

sake of Auld Lang Syne. Once only since they 
came to St. Olave^s^ had she seen any of it ; and 
that was a magnificent silk di-ess in a shop in the 
High Street^ six months ago. She went in and 
asked the price, but came out again unsatisfied ; 
seven guineas was too much to pay for the privi- 
lege of wearing the colours of her " ain countree." 
Her face brightened now, then saddened with the 
thought of dead friendships, as she shook out the 
cloak's long sweeping folds, and recognized the old 
colours that they used to wear when they were 
children scampering over the Perth Inches, — deep 
red, crossed with bands of green and white, and a 
single checker of yellow, the royal colour which a 
clansman is so proud to claim for his own. David 
wrapped it round her, and made her walk up and 
down the room. 

" You shall be a J^raw leddie, yet, Jean,'' he 
said, smiling, but the smile and the thoughts that 
brought it were not all for his sister. 

Besides the cloak, there was a beautifully 
wrought terra-cotta vase for the bow window, some 
little Parian statuettes to match the one of Beet- 
hoven, that stood upon the piano, and a few 
household belongings which careful Janet had com- 



216 ST. CLAVE ^S. 

xiissioned liim to purchase; for they found St. 
Olave^s a terribly dear place as regarded house- 
keeping. Tibbie was not forgotten either. The 
sturdy old serving woman well nigh melted into 
tears when she was summoned ^' ben '' to receive 
the plaidie^ which her master had brought all the 
way " fra the big toun." 

" Ye were aye a gude thochtfu^ laddie for them 
as wanted the siller^ Maister Da\it/^ she said^ 
curtseying in the doorway^ " and the Lord send 
that ye sail wed a bonnie wee wifie, for ye^re over 
leal an^ true to live yer lane i^ the world." 

Janet did not hear the last words, for she was 
still ]3ending over the memorial tartan, with a face 
full of thoughts ; but they brought a colour deep 
as any maiden^s blush to David^s brow. 

And then when all was cleared away, the brother 
and sister sat down side by side in the pleasant fire 
twilight. Mrs. Edenall w^as away to-night ; she 
had gone to some public meeting that was being 
held in St. Olave^s, because, as she said, the con- 
tinued stillness of the cottage wearied her. 

But Janet knew she had slipped away that they 
might have a quiet time to themselves after their long 
parting. Her absence was just one of those little 



217 

bits of true-liearted tenderness which gleamed out 
now and then like winter flowers through the 
frost and snow of that unchangeable reserve of 
hers. 

They said but little. David and his sister were 
always very undemonstrative in their household 
ways. It was a great rest to them though to be 
together again. In the long intervals of silence, 
Janet looked lovingly into her brother^ s face, 
pleased to note how the sharp worn lines of 
illness had faded out, and the grey eyes won back 
their own dear quietness. Nay, more than their 
own quietness, for to-night they seemed to shine 
with a deep inner light which she had never seen 
there before. 

" How weU he looks," she thought. " This visit 
to Ijondon has done him so much good ; he will 
soon be quite strong again." And then she pic- 
tured to herself years and years of quiet home 
life with him, none but just they two together, — 
^' my brother and I." 

The January wind was crooning through the 
trees in Westwood Lane, sometimes rising into a 
blast that shook the ivy leaves against the trellised 
window, sometimes dying off into a low eerie wail 



218 ST. olave's. 

almost like the dirge that moaned in stormy 
nights from the Cathedral belfry. 

"Alice Grey has a dree time for her journey/' 
Janet said at last. 

David turned sharply round. 

^' You never told me she was away." 

" No, for I had so many things to say ; but she 
only set off this morning. WasnH it strange, 
Davie, that you should pass each other on the road 
and never know it ? You look sorry, brother, but 
she'll not be away at the Festival. Miss Luckie 
told me that Alice quite intended being home the 
night before '^'^ Jael" was to be performed. She has 
gone to Brighton." 

" To Brighton ; surely she was not ill ?" 

" No, only a wee bit pale, and not quite so 
springy as she used to be before you went away. 
She was aye tending Mrs. Grey, and it wearied 
her, Davie ; she's a tender-hearted little thing." 
And then Janet began to speak of " poor Aunt 
Amiel," and told David all about her illness and 
Alice's loving, patient care. 

He did not say anything. It seemed as if all 
the sunlight had faded suddenly from his thoughts. 
So many pleasant fancies had clustered round that 



219 

expected meeting time. Over and over again he 
had pictured her bright smile of greeting, and her 
fresh, frank, girlish ways as she spoke to him of 
the triumph he had won. He turned his head 
away, shading his face with one hand. Janet 
thought he was tired, and so let him rest. 

Still, after all, he remembered it was only for a 
little while, just a week or two, no more, and they 
should stand face to face once again, even as they 
had stood in that same room three months ago. 
Except that now they should stand free and equal j 
he a noble man and faithful, not uncrowned 
with that laurel wreath of honour, which he had 
only striven to win because, wearing it, the world 
would count him more worthy of her. 



220 




CHAPTER XVI. 

f 

^HE Festival drew rapidly on, and the 

fl good folks of St. Olave^s began to set 

li 

y themselves in right earnest to the 

various rites that preceded its advent. The people — 
meaning by these the working bees of the com- 
munity, between whom and the " Close families'^ 
there yawned a gulf as impassable as that which 
the Roman Curtius gave his life to close — got 
their houses " done up/^ and put out notices ~ of 
'^ Apartments to let '' in the front windows. Careful 
housewives, who longed to turn an honest penny 
of pinmoney, counted over their stores of sheets 
and blankets, and speculated on the number of 
beds that could be made available for lodgers. 



221 

Every habitable tenement in the place^ from the 
magnificent Royal Hotel itself, at which the 
Queen and Royal family had once partaken of 
biscuits and wine, thereby lifting the place into 
■undying fame, down, or rather up, to the meanest 
little attic that could by possibility be coaxed 
into accommodating a stray tripper, was put into 
its best attire, thoroughly scoured, whitewashed, 
and purified. 

Looked at in a sanitary point of view, a Festival 
is quite equal to a visitation of cholera, besides 
having this advantage, that it combines pleasure 
with utility, which thing cannot be affirmed of the 
other epidemic. Once in three years, at any rate, 
the city of St. Olave's underwent a complete visi- 
tation, from which it emerged fresh and sunshiny 
as a New York little boy on Thanksgiving-day 
morning. And, on this occasion, possibly because 
the citizens had just touched extreme high-water 
mark of the tide of progress, or because they 
wished to do special honour to the composer of the 
new Oratorio, the preliminaries were carried on 
with an unprecedented vehemence. The star of 
the charwoman was in the ascendant; grocers 
noticed a brisk demand for soda and fuller's eaith, 



222 

and if all England had only had the good sense to 
follow the example of St. Olave's^ the soap market 
would no longer have been chronicled in the 
daily papers as '' flat.^^ 

Votive clouds of dust— sweet incense offered at 
the shrine of the goddess of cleanliness — ^roae 
morning by morning from the Northgate Stray, a 
large lield appropriated by civic grant to the 
beating of the city carpets. Paperers and white- 
washers were almost run off their feet, and as for 
chimney-sweeps, those sooty invaders of matutinal 
naps, they became positively coquettish, and 
treated their old customers with as much caprice 
as the reigning belle of the season thinks fit to 
lavish on her beseeching cavaliers. Washer- 
women's back yards presented a scene of bustling 
activity. • Muslin window-curtains and bed- hang- 
ings of every conceivable shape and variety, 
fluttered from the lines and spread their sno'svy 
pinions to the passing breeze. Mrs. Marris was 
*^ pretty nigh beat out,'' as she expressed it, with 
nothing but blinds and counterpanes, although 
that ecclesiastical laundress proudly ignored the 
claims of " people," and restricted herself to the 
pui'ification of Close family linen. 



ST. OLAVE^S. 223 

As the great event drew on^ the fashionable 
drapery establishments in the upper quarter of the 
city, blossomed into unwonted splendour. Satins, 
rich, soft, and downy, displayed their blooming 
tints behind the plate-glass windows of the High 
Street ; self-supporting moire antiques, from 
dowager brown to bridal white, bristled beside 
them; and silks, flounced, figured, and plain, 
shamed the rainbow for lustre. These were for 
the married aristocracy, the leading courses, so to 
speak, of the great social entertainment. Then, 
mingling with them, like the entremets and fancy 
dishes, were floating serial gauzes and tarlatanes, 
silver- starred muslins and filmy tulle illusions 
which seemed woven of air and moonshine, or cut 
in twenty-yard lengths from the webs of rose- 
tinted clouds, out of which the wardrobe of Aurora 
is popularly supposed to be replenished. And for 
the milliners^ shops — ah ! but it would need a pen 
steeped in Castalian dews to describe those temples 
of Flora, with their wreaths and knots and bou- 
quets, their scarlet holly-berries and luscious 
damask roses for the brunette's tawny brow, their 
blue-eyed forget-me-nots, lilies, and snowdrops for 
the sunny tresses of the blonde, their starry jas* 



224 

mine flowers for tlie young maiden^s first ball^ 
their wreaths of pouting orange blossom for the 
bride, the circlets of golden wheat and crimson 
cornflower waiting to bind the temples of some 
placid, dark -eyed matron, and vine leaves with 
their purple clusters and silver tendrils for bland, 
middle-aged dignity. 

The all-important week arrived. The Festival 
placards increased in size and magnificence. 
" Jael,'' "Eli,'' and " Solomon,^' in golden letters 
a yard long, figured side by side with the names 
of the distinguished London artistes who were to 
sing their praises in the Hall of Guild. Early in 
the week the county families arrived. Fashion- 
able-looking men, with retreating chins and 
finely-chiselled noses, lounged in the Cathedral 
stalls at service-time, or smoked their cigars at the 
doors of the Royal Hotel. Imperial women 
floated slowly down the narrow old-fashioned 
streets, women whose every step and gesture pro- 
claimed the centuries of Norman blood that 
coursed their veins, and whose voices had that 
fine, clear, musical ring which betokens the old 
English nobility. Mingling with them, too — for 
the railway companies would persist in getting up 



ST. OLAVE^S. 225 

cheap trips from the manufacturing districts — 
tramped frowsy-faced, freckled, honest-eyed mill 
girls, with astounding bonnets and yellow cotton 
gloves ; dependable girls, nevertheless, who albeit 
they brought not much beauty into it, might do 
as much good in the world as their clear-skinned 
Norman sisters. And, to those long steeped in 
the reticence and nil admirari repose of the 
little Cathedral city, it was somewhat refreshing to 
mark the gusto with which these unschooled 
children of machinery blurted out their astonish- 
ment at the grand old Minster, or relieved their 
excited feelings by frantic nudges of delight ad- 
ministered to the protruding elbows of the broad- 
shouldered swains who accompanied them. 

Amongst this motley throng, the professionals 
were easily to be recognized. They came from all 
parts, for the St. Olave's Festival held no mean 
place in the musical world. There were Germans, 
light-haired, pale-faced, with volumes of philoso- 
phical speculations brooding beneath their sleepy 
eyelids; dapper, white-handed little Frenchmen, 
who broke the hearts of the barmaids at the Royal 
Hotel with their roguish smiles and curled 
imperials ; and, stealing through the dim Cathe- 

VOL. II. Q 



226 ST. OLAVE^S. 

dral aisles^ or curionsly peering round tlie crumb- 
ling arches of the Monastery^ were swarthy 
Italians with fathomless glittering eyes which 
made one shiver to look into them, so eloquently 
did they speak of midnight and stilettoes. 

As the city filled, and the quiet little streets 
grew noisy with the tramp of stranger feet and the 
clatter of foreign tongues, Mrs. Edenall became 
nervous, almost excited, at times. Regularly, 
morning by morning, she went to the Minster and 
looked eagerly at the lengthening list of visitors' 
names in the book which was kept at tho entrance 
of the north aisle, and then she would pace up 
and down the nave, peering restlessly into one 
and another of the hundreds of strange faces which 
met her. There was one very quiet seat, behind 
the canopied monument of Alfric, first Bishop of 
St. Olave's. It was out of sight of passers-by, 
but overlooked the whole length of the nave and 
south transept. Here she would sit for hours, 
watching patiently for the one face that never 
came, until her own grew weary and hopeless; 
and then, as the great bell sounded for the closing 
of the doors, she turned away with hands tightly 
clenched, and a step that grew daily more feeble. 



227 

Every afternoon^ too^ as the up -train from Edin- 
burgli passed through the station^ she might be 
seen at the window of the ladies^ waiting-room, 
anxiously gazing through the thick wire-blinds 
at the groups of stalwart men and noble women 
who turned out upon the platform. 

And so the week wore on until Thursday, 
the third day of the Festival. On Tuesday and 
Wednesday there had been grand Oratorio per- 
formances in the Hall of Guild, but this 
evening the programme was varied by a full 
dress miscellaneous concert, at which the prima 
donna of Covent Garden was to make her first 
appearance in St. Olave^s, sustained by a cluster 
of musical celebrities, such as had never been 
gathered together before on any but a London 
orchestra. 

Janet Bruce sat by the fire in the par- 
lour at Westwood, knitting away at her little 
white socks, just as quietly and patiently as ever. 
Perhaps her face might be a shade brighter 
now, for she was proud of her brother^s success, 
and she was looking forward rather eagerly to 
his triumph — for she knew it would be a tri- 
umph — at the performance of " Jael " next 

q2 



228 ST. olave's. 

evening. David had been hard at work all day 
preparing the choristers for their parts,, and 
after coming home for a hasty dinner, had set 
off again to evening service at the Minster. 

The room looked very peaceful in the deepen- 
ing twilight of that early February evening. 
Not a change had been made in the simplicity, 
almost frugality of its furniture. Everything 
remained as it had been in the time of their 
poverty and obscurity. The well-worn crimson 
carpet, the old embroidered table-cover, with 
its border of armorial bearings, so dim and 
faded now, the drab moreen curtains edged 
with a quaker-like binding of black velvet, such 
as one sees in century-old country houses ; there 
was nothing grand or artistic in the room, but that 
carved oak frame with its fanciful clusters of 
leaves and flowers heaped over arabesques of 
quaint device. But there were no flame shadows 
now to play hide-and-seek upon it, for the 
fire had burned down to a deep, steady, red 
glow, which made the room seem stiller than 

ever. 

Mrs. Edenall was there. She seemed restless 

and excited. She paced rapidly up and down 



229 

the room like some caged animal that is longing 
for space and liberty. It was a habit she had 
brought with her to Westwood^ but of late she 
had almost given it up, much to Janet^s secret 
satisfaction. Whenever an irritable or nervous 
mood came upon her, she took to it again, 
and for the last few days the little time that 
she staid indoors, had been almost entirely 
spent in this restless wandering to and fro. 
Her hands were clasped, her teeth set together, 
and when at every turn she reached the wall, 
she looked fiercely at it, as though she longed 
to shatter it down and dash out into the free, 
open air. It grieved Janet to see how the 
lull which once seemed to have come over this 
strange woman^s spirit had entirely passed away, 
and all the old fever and weariness come back. 
But she bore with it patiently, never asking the 
why or wherefore. 

At length Mrs. Edenall paused with an angry, 
impatient gesture. 

" Miss Bruce,'' she said, " I cannot stay here 
any longer; the stillness of this room wearies 
me — it kills me. I shall go to the Cathedral 
prayers, the music will not be over yet." 



230 ST. olave's. 

^'What^ this wretched afternoon?" said Janet, 
and not without cause^ for the sleet was driving 
against the windows^ and the wind screamed 
wildly at intervals through the leafless branches 
of the old elm trees in Westwood Lane. 

" Oh !" replied Mrs. Edenall, with a touch 
of the old careless scorn, "you know I am not 
given to indulging in colds ; the weather has no 
effect upon me." 

And that was true. She seemed to have a 
charm against chills and agues. She would go 
out amid drenching rain and driving snow, which 
would have sown the seeds of consumption in 
any but an iron-strong frame ; but it seemed 
as if disease, physical disease, at least, had no 
work to do for her. 

"And," she continued, "I shall most likely 
look into the concert afterwards, so do not wonder 
if I am late." 

"But surely, Mrs. Edenall, you will not go 
to the concert alone, and David said he should 
not be there to-night, he will be so tired when 
he comes home from the service.-^ 

" Thank you ; I don^t care about Mr. Bruce's 
company. I shall be quite safe. No one ever 



231 

does me any harm, and as for looking strange, I 
have given over thinking about that/^ 

And as she said this she shook her head back 
with that wild, careless sort of grace, which re- 
minded Janet so unaccountably of Alice Grey^s 
manner sometimes; except that in Alice the 
gesture only betrayed a certain girlish thought- 
lessness, and in Mrs. Edenall it conveyed the 
impression of such utter pride and scorn. 

Janet made no further remark, and Mrs. 
Edenall went out of the room. She wrapped 
herself in a long grey frieze cloak, which reached 
nearly to her feet, tied a thick Shetland veil over 
her crape bonnet, and then sallied forth into the 
chill February gloom. 

The wind swirled wildly down the narrow 
streets, drifting the sleet into her face, and 
almost blinding her. But she did not seem 
to heed it. She walked quickly, impetuously on, 
as though striving to outstrip or conquer some 
evil influence that had come down upon her. 
It was quite dark before she reached the Minster. 
The light from the brilliantly-illuminated choir 
flickered faintly through the clerestory win- 
dows, half hiding, half revealing the s culptured 



232 

figures and the higlily-wrouglit fret-work of the 
stone mouldings above. It was long past six 
o'clock and the service was more than half over^ 
so instead of going into the choir to her usual 
seat near the prebendary stalls,, she went into the 
side aisle and sat down on the base of an old 
monument near the little stair that led to the 
organ. It was a grotesque old piece of sculpture 
to the memory of Sir Roger de Botolph^ a knight 
of the sixteenth century^ and Dame Dorothy^ his 
spouse. The worthy folks were kneeling face to 
face beneath an elaborate canopy, apparently say- 
ing their prayers to each other. Between them 
was a death's head and cross bones ; above, a 
lengthy Latin inscription recorded their respective 
alms-deeds and benefactions to the Church. Three 
little girls in starched ruffs, and as many little 
boys in hose and doublets, the " infantry," as the 
inscription stated, of Sir Roger and Dame 
Dorothy, were ranged in a line behind their 
father and mother, having their hands clasped, 
and wearing a solemn aspect of countenance. 

A happy family doubtless they had been in 
their time ; all dead now, and gone to heaven 
let us hope. And it was beside this stone 



ST. olave's. 233 

memento of peaceful domestic unity that Mrs. 
Edenall, the lonely^, friendless woman^ sat and 
listened in a sort of waking dream to the pealing 
tones of the organ. 

The Cathedral music was always very choice 
during the Festival^ for strangers came from 
all parts to hear it. This afternoon it was a 
selection from Mozart^s Twelfth Mass^ adapted 
to English words. People came in and out 
during the whole service; some just strolling 
into the choir for a few minutes to listen to 
the music and out again ; some examining and 
copying the monumental brasses; some with 
guide-book and spectacles^ \dewing the architec- 
tural beauties of the place ; some — very few 
though — standing with bowed head and reverent 
aspect as in the presence of Him to whom that 
grand temple belonged. 

Just as the chanting of the Psalms was over^ 
Cuthbert Scrymgeour and a military-looking gen- 
tleman strolled up the aisle and paused near to 
where Mrs. Edenall sat. She did not know who 
they were^ indeed she knew scarcely anybody in 
St. Olave's. She could hear distinctly_, however,, 
all they said^ for the conversation was not car- 



234 ST. OLAVE^S. 

ried on in the most subdued of tones. The Eeve- 
rend Cuthbert was evidently of opinion that the 
fact of standing a few inches outside the choir 
screen^ completely absolved him from all need of 
partaking in^ or even recognizing the service 
which was going on within its sacred enclosure. 

'^ You^U be at the concert to-night^ Scrymgeour, 
of course/^ said the military friend. 

^^Why^ no_, Madden. I^m afraid not. I 
should like uncommonly to drop in for half-an- 
hour or so^ but you see my charmer is coming 
home from Brighton to-night, and I must do the 
polite at the Old Lodge. ^^ 

^' Quite right. It will never do for Euterpe 
to put Erato^s nose out of joint_, we all know 
that. You^re a lucky fellow Scrymgeour; the 
little Grey girl is as pretty a piece of feminine 
witchery as IVe seen for a good while. By the 
way, when are you going to be turned off?" 

" Oh, not just yet," and Cuthbert stroked his 
whiskers. " A fellow canH be expected to give 
up his freedom, and turn into a Benedict all at 
once, eh?" 

^^ Exactly. I was rather surprised when I 
heard you had been and gone and done the pre- 



235 

liminaries in sucli a bustle. Afraid of some one 
else stepping in before you^ I suppose. Half 
thought of making a try myself once^ after that 
pic-niC;, but you see married life doesnH do for 
the army.^^ 

Just then the clergyman began to intone the 
Creed. Had Cuthbert Scrymgeour been stand- 
ing at his place in the choir_, he would have 
salaamed until his Grecian nose scraped the 
ledge of the reading desk. Under present cir- 
cumstances he did not consider such a mark of 
respect binding upon his conscience^ and as the 
rustle of priestly vestments in the choir marked 
the utterance of the Name at which every knee 
shall bow_, he stood idly quizzing the groups of 
loungers and tapping his polished boots with a 
silver-mounted ebony cane. 

Their vacant gossip jarred upon Mrs. Edenall. 
She moved away from her seat and went into 
the nave^ quite away down to the west end where 
scarce a footstep was stirring save her own. There^ 
at least,, all was solemn and calm and still. People 
rave over the majesty of continental'Cathedral in- 
teriors, but travellers who had " done '' all the 
architectural wonders of Europe, came home and 



36 

confessed that none of tliem surpassed^, or even 
equalled St. Olave's Cathedral in the twilight of 
winter time. She stood beneath the statue niches 
which supported the arch of the great west 
window. From the lofty clustered columns which 
spanned the entrance to the choir_, a flood of light 
poured over the transepts and the eastern end of 
the nave^ growing fainter and fainter as it passed 
column after column_, until at last it spent itself in 
a feeble flicker upon the richly foliated tracery of 
the west window. The side aisles were in deep 
gloom^ only a stray light here and there suggest- 
ing, but not outlining, the grand clustered pillars 
whose flowered capitals were hidden in complete 
darkness. Here and there a gleam of light from 
the choir revealed a fragment of some majestic 
arch, or pencilled out upon the marble walls the 
shadows of the curiously wrought bosses that 
hung from the groined roof. But all seemed vast 
and disjointed and fragmentary, like the human' 
soul itself, unlit by the daylight of truth. 

For sometime Mrs. Edenall was alone. Then 
&he heard footsteps, and by-and-by a tall figure 
wrapped in a plaid, crossed and re- crossed the aisle 
not far away from where she stood. In the deep 



237 

shadow slie could scarcely distinguisli liis form^ 
much less the contour of his face_, but the step 
was that of a large, heavily-made man. As he 
came nearer to her, the choir lights were extin- 
guished, leaving the building in complete dark- 
ness, except where a single lamp burned over the 
south entrance. Then the voice of the verger was 
heard echoing through the building — ^' Strangers 
out/^ She made her way across the aisle, and to 
avoid the jostling crowd who thronged the great 
doors, stole out through a little narrow entry 
which led into the Close from the west end. 

Sleet and wind had it all their own way in the 
Close to-night. It wanted half an hour yet to the 
opening of the Concert Hall doors, and the car- 
riages had not yet begun to draw up at the tall, 
old-fashioned houses that loomed so gray and 
ghostly in the evening gloom. A pleasant rosy 
glow came from the crimson curtained windows of 
the Old Lodge, and gleamed through the leafless 
branches of the trees that skirted the garden. It 
spoke of home, and rest, and comfort, and Mrs. 
Edenall turned passionately away from it — the 
very thought seemed to mock her. She could not 
return to Westwood. Its never changing stillness 



238 ST. OLAVE^S. 

was insufferable. She was in that state of mind 
when quiet produces almost madness. She 
gathered her cloak round her and walked fiercely 
up and down the Close, until she was quite ex- 
hausted ; and then leaning against one of the pro- 
jecting buttresses of the west tower, ,she watched 
the sleet go drifting by. 

Its incessant motion, quick, aimless, uncertain, 
and yet so silent, seemed to soothe her. She looked 
at it until a sort of magnetic quietness came over 
her. As the Minster bells struck half-past seven 
she turned away towards the Concert Hall. A 
crowd was already thickening around it, and a long 
line of carriages drawing up at the private door 
which conducted to the reserved seats. Groups of 
dirty little children and haggard pale-faced girls 
were huddled together near the canvas awning 
that had been erected over the pavement, giving 
vent to pent-up whispers of envious amazement 
as some fair-haired belle, in silver-sprigged tulle, 
alighted from her carriage and floated up the bril- 
liantly-lighted staircase, or ^a stout old dowager 
bristling in moir antique and family diamonds, 
sailed majestically out of sight. 

Mrs. Edenall passed this door and went to the 



239 

promenade entrance. She had some difficulty in 
making her way through the thickening mass of 
people that blocked up the lobbies and corridors, 
and by the time she reached the hall^ all the best 
seats were already taken. But she did not care for 
hearing. All she wanted was to see. After long 
patient waitings she forced a passage to the side 
seats, and got a place behind one of the massive 
columns that supported the gallery, from which, 
almost unseen herself, she could look out over the 
whole room ; from the reserved seats, already 
blossoming into a perfect parterre of wreaths and 
bouquets, past the sedater splendours of the 
middle floor, chiefly filled by retired trades- 
people in somewhat seedy half-dress, to the 
moving groups of the promenade; a confused mass 
of strangers, foreigners, and aliens, chiefly men, 
with here and there a shabbily dressed woman or 
two, all elbowing, jostling, and pushing their way 
towards the low, crimson- covered barricade, which 
protected the upper and second rate sociality of St. 
Olave's from the ignobile vulgus of the five shilling 
seats. 



240 



CHAPTEE XVII. 

r 



mw: 



iUwS -^-^ room began to fill. Carnage after 
carriage poured its dazzling contribu- 
tion into the fall-dress seats ; like a 
distant sound of waves tbe thickening footsteps 
echoed and re-echoed along the wide corridors. 
By-and-by the whole place was packed. From her 
sheltered nook_, Mrs. Edenall peered eagerly out^, 
but the face she sought never came. Sometimes 
amidst the surging mass beneath and around her, 
one like it would appear, and then she leaned 
forward with keen hungry gaze, but only to fall 
back more wearily again as the fancied resemblance 
resolved itself into the blank features of some 
stranger countenance. 



241 

The musicians came on the orchestra, stealing 
with slow noiseless steps to their places, their 
sombre costumes contrasting vividly with the 
banners emblazoned with heraldic devices, the 
draperies of crimson velvet, the wreaths and fes- 
toons of shining evergreens. Then came the 
tuning of instruments, twang after twang of 
violin strings mingled now and then with the deep 
sound of a violoncello or a clear solitary pianoforts 
note. Presently a round of applause announced 
the debut of the professionals who were to com- 
mence the performance — four dark quiet gentle- 
manly-looking men, with that set, everlasting 
smile and cool nonchalance of deportment which 
becomes so habitual to public characters, especially 
musicians. 

The first piece was a quartett for stringed in- 
struments. Mrs. Edenall scarcely listened to it. 
That long, long gaze of mute inquiry over and 
disappointed, she had drawn her veil tightly 
over her face, and leaned her head against the 
marble column at her side, with the utterly weary 
spiritless air of one who can neither suffer nor 
enjoy anything. After the quartett came a piano- 
forte solo, a grand frothy fly-away sort of thing, 

VOL. II. R 



243 ST. OLAVE^S. 

introduced like the "padding'^ in a popular 
magazine to make a setting for the more talented 
contributions. When this was over, the leading 
article, the Covent Garden prima donna, made her 
appearance. 

She was a grand, queenly woman, standing like 
a white-robed statue, pure and passionless, 
amidst the admiring multitude. There was 
no flattered vanity, scarce even the semblance of 
recognition, in the slight and graceful gesture with 
which she acknowledged the peals of tumultuous 
greeting that rang through the Hall of Guild. 
She seemed to stand apart from the gaping 
fashionable throng in some thought world of her 
own, from which upon the deep silence 
that followed the first welcome, she let fall, 
calmly and almost unconsciously, drops of music, 
tender, soft, and peaceful as those we hear in 
dreams. 

Mrs. Edenall could not but listen now. All 
Europe had hushed its play to hear that voice. 
Sometimes its tones were passionate and pleading 
as though born from infinite deeps of sorrow ; 
sometimes they trickled merrily along with no 
more measured art than that which sruides the 



24S^ 

ripples of a mountain stream; sometimes they 
flashed out into sudden brilliance,, like a fountain 
springing skywards and tossing the sunlight from 
each of its myriad drops; then trembling away 
down into a low sweet murmur that was rather 
heard than felt, so gently, so patiently it stole 
into the listening heart. 

She ceased. They called her back mth shouts 
of rapture. Calmly, proudly she came, and then 
without any accompaniment, without a single 
shake, or grace, or artistic flourish, she sang the 
English ballad, " Home, sweet Home.''^ 

That familipT song, the national anthem of every 
English heart, the psalm of every English fireside ! 
The song that mothers croon to their sleeping 
babes ; that falls like a benediction on the soldier^ s 
ear as he lies in snow-covered hut or hospital ward. 
The song that brings tears, soft and childlike, to 
the prodigaPs eye when its music smites him in the 
land of strangers, and makes the poor street cast- 
away crouch pale and repentant before the 
memories it brings. The song that fills ever^ 
husband's heart with honest pride ; the first song 
we learn to love, the last we learn to forget. 
" Home, sweet Home." Alas ! for those, who 



244 

listening to its strains find in tliem only tlie 
stinging remembrance of joys that can never^ 
never come again I 

" Allow me to pass. I did not know it was so 
late/^ said a deep-toned voice a few benches behind 
where Mrs. Edenall was sitting. 

The speaker wa& a tall finely-made man. His 
garb and aspect would have betrayed his nation- 
ality, even had not the steady Scottish accent with 
which he spoke done it for him. He wore a tar- 
tan plaid, chiefly red, checkered with black and 
white, wrapped round him after that negligent 
fashion which only born Highlanders know how to 
manage, and dangling from his ungloved right 
hand was a Glengarry bonnet of the same tartan. 
He was very broad and stalwart, of the genuine 
Caledonian build, with great tangling masses of 
curling flaxen hair swept back from a high, well- 
shaped forehead. He might be forty -five, perhaps 
more, perhaps less, but men with light hair look 
young so long. It is only the strong dark-locked 
nature that betrays the iron-grey grasp of time. 
His face was meant to be a noble one. He had 
the majestic leonine features, the aquiline nose. 



ST. OLAVE^S. 245 

tlie keen piercing blue eyes of the thorough-born 
Scot. But the lower part of the face spoilt them 
all. Its expression was low and earthly. The 
lips, large and shapeless, were those of a man en- 
slaved by pleasure, a man never wakened by any 
noble impulse or lofty purpose. That mouth gave 
the lie boldly and decidedly to the upper part of 
the face, and he did well to hide it by the crisp 
curls of a golden-red beard and moustache. Still 
in consideration of his face and figure altogether, 
he was what most people would call a very fine 
man. 

" Allow me to pass,^' he repeated; and this 
time there was a touch of quick impatience in his 
voice. 

Mrs. Edenall caught it She turned wildly 
round, as though smitten by some unexpected 
blow. A cry of smothered excitement rose to her 
lips, but she had self-control enough to force it 
back. For a while she trembled violently, and 
but for the pillar at her side would have fallen to 
the ground. After pausing a moment or two, she 
rose, and, with very tottering steps, tried to make 
her way through the people. 

The stranger was far aliead of her. He pushed 



^46 

vigorously on^ not sparing hard words^ or even 
blows^ when either would facilitate his passage. 
She followed as best she could. The corridors 
were completely wedged with people waiting to 
come in at reduced prices to the second part of 
the concert. Often^ in the crowd,, she lost sight 
of him ; now a marble statue came between them, 
•anon the blinding glare of a chandelier fell full 
upon her straining eyes, or he disappeared behind 
the folds of some crimson drapery. He had nearly 
reached the carriage road outside before she got 
to the door. She heard him hail a cab and shout 
to the driver — 

" To the Royal Hotel— quick ! '' 

She followed, pressing with desperate energy 
through the masses of low, loose, shabbily-dressed 
people that loitered within the railed yard, wait- 
ing to catch sight of the full-dress company. 

" Laws ! Missus, do be steady now, can^t ye ? " 
said one towering Irishwoman, whose red shawl 
she accidentally caught and almost tore it from 
the stout matron^s shoulders. " Ain't there no 
pleecemen hereabouts to give an eye to drunken 
folk sich as the likes of ye ? ^* 

^' Lost her beau I Take yer home for sixpejice. 



247 

ma^amj" and a sidelong^ leering-looking fellow 
pushed his greasy coat-sleeve in her face. 

But she heeded neither jest nor insult^ as she 
pressed frantically forward^ threading her way 
through the network of carriages which blocked 
the street. Over and over again_, the cabmen had 
to rein up their horses^ or she would have been 
trodden to death. By-and-by the road became 
clearer, and nothing hindered her but the driving 
sleet. At last she reached the hotel. Two or 
three waiters were loitering about in the entrance, 
reading the newspapers and gossiping with each 
other. Carpet bags and portmanteaus were 
heaped up near the door, in readiness for visitors 
who had to leave after the concert was over. 

" Well, ma^am, what may we have the honour 
of doing for you? '' said one of the waiters, in a 
pert, confident tone. It was not a common thing 
for ladies to come alone to the Boyal Hotel at 
that time of night, without luggage either, and 
no signs of travel about them. 

" I wish to see Mr. Douglas R-amsay. I un- 
derstand he is staying here." 

She had thrown back her veil. Her face was 
ashen pale, but it had all the innate majesty 



248 

which no sorrow or anxiety could outwear. And 
something in her voice or gesture awed the man^ 
for he answered^ quite respectfully — 

'^'^Mr. Douglas Ramsay, ma'am? I don^t re- 
collect the name, but I'll inquire. Take a seat, 
ma'am ;" and he showed hei iiAo a little room on 
the right-hand side of the door. 

One or two gentlemen were chatting at the 
further end, but they took no notice of her. She 
heard the waiter loudly calling the name she 
had given him, from landing to landing of the 
great staircase — the name which for years she 
had never heard — the name which she scarce had 
power to whisper to her own heart, save in the 
stillness of night and solitude. Presently the 
man came back. 

'^ Mr. Ramsay left, ma'am, about five minutes 
ago. He was going off by the north train.'' 
And then, perhaps noticing the stony, despairing 
look that came into Mrs. Edenall's face, he added, 
glancing up at the great clock which stood on the 
staircase — 

" You would soon catch him in a cab, ma'am ; 
only there's none to be got to-night, because of 
the concert. But I shouldn't wonder, if vou was 



ST. ola^"e's. 2'49' 

to walk fastj you might be at the station afore 
the train was away. They're always behind-hand 
busy nights like these. It's not far^ ma'am r up 
to the top of the High Street, and then take the 
first turning to the right ; that'll lead you ^' 

The rest of his direction was given to the 
empty chair. Without waiting to thank him, 
Mrs. Edenall flew through the hall, down the 
wide flight of steps, and into the dark winding 
streets. On she went, with almost the speed of 
madness, past alley and postern, through crowded 
courts and deserted bye-lanes. Once only, under 
a crumbling archway of the old monastery, she 
paused for breath, just a moment, no more, and 
then on again, more wildly than before. The 
station was a little way out of the city. Ere she 
reached it, the bell rang; and when, at last, 
panting and weary, she sped through the iron 
gateway, the sharp sound of the railway whistle 
smote upon the air, and the north train wound 
slowly away from the platform, the fiery eyes of 
its two red signals glaring fiercely through the 
gloom. 

With one more desperate effort slie gathered 
up all her remaining energy and rushed after it. 



250 

As yet it moved leisurely ;, with a long, slow, 
snake-like trail. She ran past can'iage after 
carriage, unperceived in the thickening darkness 
of night. Some were quite empty; in some was 
a single sleeper, muffled in great coat and com- 
forter; some were crowded with jolly-looking 
men, laughing and smoking. 

It was in the last carriage of all — a padded 
and cushioned first class — that the flickering 
lamplight fell upon that grand Highland head, 
with its coronal of waving flaxen hair. 

No one else was in the compartment. Mr. 
Ramsay was wrapped in his plaid ; on the vacant 
seat beside him lay his Glengarry bonnet and a 
flask of spirits. The Times lay on his knee ; he 
seemed to be settling himself down to a comfort- 
able study of it, just as any well-to-do gentleman 
might, with a full purse and a night's uninterrupted 
leisure. 

With frenzied determination Mrs. Edenall 
sprang on the step and clung to the handle of the 
carriage. 

" Douglas ! Douglas Eamsay ! '' she muttered 
in a low, hoarse, sepulchral voice; she was too 
spent with wild excitement to shriek or cry. 



251 

The paper fell from Ms hands; he sprang to 
his feet. His countenance kindled into surprise, 
then into alarm, then into angry horror. Was 
that white ashen thing indeed a woman^s face, or 
had it come from the land of ghosts, to caU back 
his sin to his remembrance? Like a buried 
corpse, indeed, it looked, save for those great 
passionate grey eyes, with the mingled love and 
fury burning through them, and scorching into 
his very soul. He started back, stretching out 
his hands with a gesture of fear. She thrust hers 
into the carriage. A moment more and their fin- 
gers would have met — Ah, then in that wild 
frantic clasp, he would have felt no ghostly visitant 
had sought him out. 

" Passengers not allowed to stand on the steps.^' 
said the guard, in a cool, collected, business-like 
voice ; and with as much ease as if she had been a 
child, he unloosed her cold fingers from the 
carriage door, and lifted her to the ground. 

And Douglas Kamsay's last look upon her was 
full of horror, and dread, and loathing ; nothing 
but this. She had not even had time to curse 
him, or hurl one kiss of her pent-up love upon 
his lips. 



252 ST. olave's. 

With a low cry of despair, drowned as scon 
as it passed her lips by the sharp whistle of 
the now rapidly moving train, she craAvled to 
the hedgeside, and fell down there, utterly spent 
and overworn; out of all that heaven and eartli 
could give longing only for death, nothing but 
death » 




CHAPTER XVIII. 



OW long she lay there beneath the 
driving sleet, she could not tell, AYhen 
she came to herself again the moon- 
light was whitening the ragged edge of a great 
dim cloud that lay piled up against the horizon. 
The red and green lights of the station were 
gleaming a quarter of a mile away, and she 
could hear the heavy tramp of the engineers at 
work in the forges. She rose, aching in every 
limb, and went slowly homewards. When she 
had got about half way, she remembered a little 
lane that led past the Low Gardens into the West- 
wood Road. She turned into this to avoid going 



254 ST. olave's. 

througli the briglitly-liglited streets of St.Olave's. 
She walked on as if in a brooding dream, too 
worn and desolate to feel anything acutely. All 
that she remembered of the past was a dim, aching 
sense of wrong and disappointment. Bodily 
weakness had mercifully dulled her mental powers, 
and held in abeyance the bitter pain that must 
come sooner or later to a nature like hers after the 
strain through which it had just passed. 

About a hundred yards down the lane was the 
little meeting-house used by the Primitive Method- 
ists. She had once passed it with Janet Bruce, 
and they had gone in to look round. It was 
lighted up now, as if for some service. The warm 
glow shining through the half-open door into the 
chill, dark night, lured her to the threshold. 

" May I come in ? '' she said to the man who 
kept the door. 

He seemed surprised that she should ask, and 
directed her into the room where the service was 
to be held. She crept behind the people to a form 
against the wall, partly screened by an open door 
which led to a little vestry beyond. There she 
sank down half fainting upon the low seat. She 
seemed to herself in a sort of vague, dead 



255 

stupor; she had endured to the very verge of 
endurance ; nothing worse could come now. The 
night could grow no darker, the next change 
must be the morning dawn. 

By-and-by she woke from the swoon into 
which the sudden warmth of the room had thrown 
her, and began to look around this new resting- 
place that she had so unexpectedly found. 

It was a square room, neither large nor lofty, 
but well-lighted, and exquisitely clean. The walls 
were coloured with a pleasant grey tint, soft and 
refreshing to the eye. White blinds were drawn 
over the square windows. The only decoration in 
the room was a narrow cornice of scroll pattern 
which bordered the flat panelled ceiling. On 
one side of the room was a platform raised about 
a foot from the floor ; upon it stood a plain deal 
desk, with a bible and hymn-book for the use of 
the minister who conducted the service. 

Facing this desk were two long rows of benches, 
divided by an aisle up the middle. The men sat 
on the right-hand, the women on the left. By 
the time the service began, there might be about 
a hundred present. 

The women were chiefly aged, many of them in 
mdow^s weeds, most of them wearing mourning 



25G ST, olave's. 

Mrs. Cromarty sat on one of the front benches. 
She seemed to be ^Tapped in meditation^ for her 
eyes were closed and a strange light shone out 
from her grand still face. The men evidently 
belonged to the working classes. Some of them were 
old and grey-headed^ with bent shoulders and 
faces deeply scarred with the marks of care. Some 
were middle-aged, grave thouglitfal-looking men 
with resolute faces and stalwart muscular frames ; 
the sort of men who, if they had been sailors, 
would have perilled their lives to save a sinking 
skip ; if firemen, would have walked calmly into 
the rack of a burning house so only duty sent them 
there; if colliers, would have braved fire-damp 
and foul air to fetch out a buried comrade. Still, 
steady men they were, with the make of a hero in 
every one of them. And some were stripling lads, 
apprentices who had dressed themselves after a 
day's work and come here for rest, body rest and 
soul rest. Looking round upon them all, noting 
their reverent demeanour, the hushed, girded ex- 
pression of most of the countenances, you could 
not but have the impression that the religion of 
these people was very earnest and deep-seated; 
not a garb to be put on and off like Sunday cloth- 



ST. olave's. 257 

mg, but an influence that informed and nerved 
and intensified the whole life. 

As the little clock over the platform struck nine, 
the minister took his place at the desk. 

^^ Let us worship God.^' 

All knelt down, and he off'ered a short, simple, 
fervent prayer, to which most of the men and some 
of the women responded from time to time with 
a vigour and heartiness that would have secured 
their immediate ejection from any other place of 
worship in St. Olave^s. 

After they rose from their knees, the minister 
read the twelfth chapter of the Epistle to the 
Romans, and then commenced his address. He 
leaned with folded arms over the desk, looking at 
one and another of his congregation, and some- 
times smiling, as their eyes met his, with a beam- 
ing glance of recognition. He used neither pomp 
of words nor flow of oratory ; he seemed like a 
man speaking to his companions in the quiet in- 
tercourse of home life. 

'^ My friends,^' he said, " We have been brought 
to the close of another working day. We have 
come to this little meeting, some from our work- 
shops, some from our counters, some from our fire- 

VOL. II. s 



258 

sides^ and some — many I trust — from our places 
of prayer. God will not send us empty away. He 
has a blessing for each one of us_, and He giveth 
liberally ;, upbraiding not. It may be that some of 
you have come here cast down and afflicted ; if so^ 
remember there is One standing in the midst of 
us who says, ^ Come unto Me and I will give you 
rest.^ He is very pitiful and of tender mercy, 
and He will lay no more upon you than you are 
able to bear. Others there may be who are toil- 
ing hard amidst the cares and anxieties of this life ; 
sore wounded by the archers, yet striving to keep 
a conscience void of offence towards God and man. 
To such the Great Master says — ' I know thy 
works.^ Do not be afraid of duty. Make your 
daily duties part of your religion, and God will 
make them means of grace to your souls. Perhaps 
there are others who have come with the stain of 
unforgiven sin upon their consciences. You, my 
friends, are heartsick and weary, but Jesus is not 
far from any one of you. He has borne your sins 
and carried your sorrows ; why, then, should you 
be burdened with them ? 

' Cast on Jesus all thy care, 

Tis enough that He is nigh ; 
He will all tlij burden bear, 
He will all thy wants supply. 



259 

' He thy soul will safely lead, 
In His tender care confide ; 
Call on Him in time of need. 
He will be thy guard and guide.' " 

Then he spoke of the beauty and seriousness of 
life. '^ God/^ he said^ " has a purpose for each 
one of us, and it should be the great aim of our 
lives to find out what this purpose is, and then in 
right earnest set ourselves to the realizing of it. 
We are often told that it is a serious thing to die ; 
it would be well if we remembered that it is a far 
more serious thing to live. We will now sing a 
hymn, and afterwards those of you who feel drawn 
out to do so, will tell us of the dealings of God 
with your souls. Say what you have to say 
shortly and simply. God does not care for your 
much speaking ; only see to it that you say it 
truly." 

He then read out this hymn : — 

" I lay my sins on Jesus, 

The spotless Lamb of God ; 
He bears them all, and frees us. 
From the accursed load. 

" I bring my griefs to Jesus, 
My sorrows and my fears ; 
He from them all releases. 
He every burden bears. 

s 2 



260 

"I rest TPy soul on Jesus, 
This weary soul of mine ; 
His right hand me embraces, 
I on His breast recline. , 

" I love the name of Jesus, 
Emanuel, Christ, the Lord ; 
Like fragrance on the breezes, 
His name abroad is poured." 

After lie had read the entire hymn, the minister 
gave it out by two lines at a time. One of the 
men near the desk started a tnne and the others 
followed, joined presently by the tremulous treble 
voices of the women. 

Mrs. EdenalFs head drooped lower and lower ; 
soon the tears trickled slowly, one by one, 
from beneath her thick veil. But people often 
wept at that service, and the woman by her side 
did not notice her, except by a single glance of 
quiet respectful sympathy with what she took to 
be a soul in communion with its Maker. 

And so indeed it was. 

After the hymn was over, there followed a long 
pause. 

Then Mrs. Cromarty rose. Her hands were 
clasped together over her little hymn-book, her 
eyes uplifted, her whole face seemed brightened 
by an indwelling presence of stedfast joy. 



261 

" Fm very happy/' she said. " I just feel Fni 
doing what Jesus wants me to do, and as I take it 
that's the most o' what folks need to carry thern 
straight along through this world. He's got all 
my heart, inside an' out, it all belongs to Him, 
and He fills it with such a peace as I can't tell of. 
There's nothing in the world like loving the Lord 
Jesus. He's a good Master, and never keeps 
back a penny of the wages promised to them as 
serves him faithful. It was the best day's work I 
ever did when I got 'listed in among His people. 
He's been doing me good ever since. I can tell 
of it as well as if it was nobbut yesterday — first 
time I ever got a sight o' true religion. It's 
five- an' -thirty year come next Martinmas hiring, 
and I were tramping along London streets wi' 
scarce a rag to my back, just picking up a penny 
in selling bits o' shoe-laces and matches. I see'd 
a room lighted up, and, thinks I, it looks warm 
and comfortable like, I'll go in and sit me down. 
Mebby there's some poor body comed in here to- 
night because the room looks warm and comfort- 
able. May the Lord Almighty meet 'em and do 
'em a bit o' good to their precious souls." 

In the hearty Amens which sealed this wish, 



262 

that whictL sighed out from Mrs. EdenalPs lips 
was unheard — unheard, at least, by the visible 
worshippers in that little shrine. Mrs. Cromarty 
went on. 

'' I slipped my basket under t' seat, and started 
listening. Minister was agate with that beautiful 
parable about the Prodigal Son. He read it sort 
o' sweet and tender, summut as the Lord Jesus 
might ha^ spoken it, an^ it came over me like rain 
i' the summer-time, when things is withered wi' 
overmuch sunshine. Thinks I to myself. Honor 
Grant — it was afore I were married, a good bit — 
Honor Grant, if ever there^s a prodigal in this 
world it^s you. And then I kind o' heard a 
whisper in my heart — ^ Him that cometh unto me, 
I will in no wise cast out.^ And I came,'' 

She paused awhile, for her voice was quivering 
with emotion, and the unshed tears were glisten- 
ing in her great dark eyes. Then she began 
again — 

^^ I get's tempted sometimes. I suppose people 
ain't never clear shut o' temptation i' this world. 
As long as there's a bit o' tinder left in the soul, 
Satan '11 try hard to strike a spark at it. But, 
bless the Lord, He brings me off conqueror. He 



263 

does. ^Tisn't my strength as does it. I'm just 
nothing but a bruised reed_, and I should clean 
snap in two if I hadn't His strength to hold on to. 
But He does keep me. He says to me, ^ Fear 
not, I am with thee/ and then I get so happy I 
burst out singing. I was once a poor lone woman 
with never a friend to look to, and a heart so full 
of wickedness, that the blessed angels might have 
shuddered at it. Now the light's shone in upon 
me, and this is all my song — 

' My God is reconciled, 

His pardoning voice I hear. 
He owns me for His child, 

I can no longer fear. 
With confidence I now draw nigh, 
And Father ! Abba Father ! cry.' " 

Mrs. Cromarty ceased, and there was deep, 
utter silence whilst the recording angel took that 
poor woman's hymn of praise and laid it on the 
steps of the great white throne. 

The next speaker was an old man, feeble and 
palsied. He rose very slowly, steadying himself 
on a stout oaken staff which he held in both hands. 
His voice had a tone of unconscious patient grief, 
such as those use to whom sorrow has become not 
an accident but a habit, the prevailing key-note of 



264 

their lives. He had to tell of bereavement. 
Daring that week his wife had died and been 
buried, and the old man was left alone. He spoke 
of her death, her last words, his great loneliness. 
The women sobbed as they heard his touching 
story, and one or two of the men wiped away a 
stray tear with their coat sleeves. 

" I have no one to care for me now,'' he said, 
" my lass is gone ; we'd lived and tewed together 
five -and- fifty year. Mebby I used to speak a bit 
sharp tull her sometimes ; but I wouldn't do it 
now nobbut she could come back to me. Hard 
words turns into bitter stings when them we spoke 
'em to is gone. And my childer's all dead too. 
My lass and me buried the last of em' two 
years gone. I sit by my bit o' fire all alone, 
and I'm oft tempted to say the Lord has dealt 
very bitterly with me. Then I ask for grace to be 
patient, and when I can nayther praise nor pray, 
I just tries to murmur out — ^ Thy will be done.' 
But it's a bitter cup." 

He sat down. At that moment, quite suddenly, 
a woman from the far corner of the room began 
to sing in a low, sweet voice, soon joined by the 
other women and some of the men — 



265 

" My rest is in heaven, my rest is not here, 

Then why should I murmur when trials are near ? 
!Be hushed my dark spirit, the worst that can come, 
But shortens my journey, and hastens me home. 
Home ! home ! sweet home ! 
There's no place like heaven, there's no place like home." 

They sang it to the tune of " Home_, sweet 
Home/^ the same tune to which Mrs. Edenall had 
listened scarce more than an hour ago^ amidst the 
glare and glitter of the Concert Hall. Then, the 
music had brought back only stinging memories ; 
it had spoken to her of the joy that was gone for 
ever, of the peace and hope which could never 
come again. Now, it seemed to whisper of 
another home, even a heavenly; of a quiet soul 
rest, of a new and precious life where the past 
might be pardoned and the present calmed, and 
the future made, if not bright, at least peaceful 
and free from fear. As she listened, her heart 
grew still. 

For awhile no one seemed inclined to break the 
holy silence which that music had left. Then a 
tall, sturdy, middle-aged man rose. He might 
be a carpenter, for he had a stoop in his shoulders 
and wore an apron tucked away round his waist 
under his coat. He was fresh and happy-looking. 



266 

He had a jovial face, lips that seemed to be 
always trying to hide a smile, and light, sunny, 
hazel eyes, with a certain twinkle of humour lurk- 
ing in their clear, honest glance. He held his 
head well up, shaking back the hair, somewhat 
touched with grey, from his forehead. His accent 
was provincial in the extreme, but he spoke with 
an evident sense of enjoyment and hearty earnest- 
ness. 

" Satan were tempting me as I came along,^^ he 
began, '^ and says he to me, Luke Ryan, says he, 
you wonH have nought to say when you get 
among all the folk. Ye^U be shamed while ye 
canH lift yer head up. Hould yer whisht, says I, 
I warn^t ashamed to speak up right well i^ your 
cause when I lived servant wi^ you, an' its a poor 
story if I canH say a word for the Master what's 
done so much for me. It's a sorry sort o' shame, 
sir," and here he turned his face to the minister, 
"it's a sorry sort o' shame when folks can tongue 
away like mad i' the world's talk, and havn't a 
word to say for Him as bled for 'em. So I 
comed, though he tried hard, did the old feUow, 
to keep me back. 

'^ Well, I'm always learnin'. I were an ould 



ST. OLAVE^S. 267 

scholar when I came into t^ blessed Master^s 
school^ and says I to myself, Luke Ryan, says 1, 
you mun be right sharp, 'cause the time is short, 
and death '11 be coming afore ye can spell out a 
chapter; and now things as I never looked to 
afore teaches me blessed lessons. If yeM like to 
hear one or two on 'em I'll tell ye. T'other day 
I were off in t' country, puttin' up a barn door for 
a farmer as lives at Grassthorpe, an' afore I got 
there I took thirsty; it's a pretty far step to 
Grassthorpe, and though I don't go for to say 
nothin' agen the weather God Almighty sees fit to 
send — t' worst on it's better nor we deserve — it 
was one o' those reeky fixed up days as seems to 
take all a man's spring and spirit out on him. So 
I seed a pump nigh hand the toll-gate cottage, and 
off I set and began o' pumping. But t' pump 
nozzle were low, not over a span off t' ground, and 
I were forced to go down of my knees and stoop 
my head afore I could get a drop. Well, sir, that 
teached me a lesson. Says I to myself, Luke 
Ryan, says I, that there pump is like the Gospel 
of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must go down on 
our knees to it. It's when we're bowed in prayer 
and humility that the water of salvation comes 



268 ST. OLAVE^S. 

pouring out and freshens the thirsty soul. But 
mind ye^ if ye're over proud to stoop and put your 
lips to the pump nozzle^ ye mun just go dry, an^ 
serve ye right too. And I'm thinking, sir, this is 
the reason why babes and sucklings is oft more 
learned in the ways of God than us as thinks wer- 
selves summut great. They havn't so far to stoop. 
It donH go agen their natural pride to kneel ^em 
down and drink. Bless us, what a glorious thing 
it 'ud be if we could all on us get the child-heart, 
and trust God Almighty, as a little bairn looks 
tull its father an' mother, never askin' no questions, 
but just goin' where He tells us to- I know the 
time when I wouldn't ha' said a prayer to save my 
soul. I glorified human natur over much, an' all 
t' time I was lean and dry, and withered as a bit 
o' kindlin'. A proud spirit and a poor heart, a 
proud spirit and a poor heart, that's the way it 
goes." 

Luke's racy way of describing the dealings of 
God with his soul, seemed to cheer the people. It 
was as if a breeze of clear, fresh, healthy mountain 
air had swept over and chased away all of doubt 
and sadness that anyone might have brought into 
that little meeting. Even Mrs. EdenaU raised her 



ST. OLAVE^S. 269 

head, and a look of infinite longing and tender- 
ness came stealing into her erewhile despairing 
face. The minister stood leaning over the desk, 
his arms folded upon it, a smile, which he did not 
attempt to restrain, coming and going npon his 
lips. 

" And then, sir,^^ continued Luke, '^ there's 
another thing I should like to say. I ahvays 
look to get a good meal of speritle meat and drink 
first thing of a mornin^, it makes me as fresh 
as a lark all the day. Folks as works hard, 
wants a good breakfast, and it ain't no yield 
trying to get on without it. And it's same with 
God Almighty's labourers, they mun get a good 
feed o' speritle meat and drink afore they set to 
work. I always gets up thick end of an hour 
afore the rest wakes, and has a clear still time 
readin' and meditatin', and bless ye, the good it 
does me, I can't tell. Mebby ye think it's 
time I were sittin' down now, but there's just 
one more thing strikes me, and when I've got 
it said, I won't talk no longer. Ye see I'm 
finding my tongue, friends, though Satan telled 
me I shouldn't ha' nought to say ; but some- 
times thoughts nestles in my mind as thick as 



270 

sparrows in a cherry-tree, and I^m clean beat 
to find words to match ^em. Some folks has a 
gift o^ thinkin^ without talkin', and other folks 
has a gift o^ talkin' without thinkin\ Now 
themes best off as gets a little o^ both, and I 
believe that^s way wi^ me. Christian people 
now-a-days has got dainty appetites, plain food 
don^t suit ^em no longer, they must have cakes 
and candy, and all manner o^ things as ainH got 
no support in ^em. Now when I was a ^prentice 
lad, I ate plain food, lots o' meat and lots o^ 
potaties, and lots o' good brown bread, but nowt 
else to speak on. And I throve well and pushed 
upwards, and pushed outwards, like yon elm trees 
i' the Close, till I got as big as ye see me now." 

And Luke threw out his broad chest, and tossed 
back the hair from his sunburnt forehead — a 
veritable specimen of the best sort of muscular 
Christianity. 

" Well friends," he continued, " that rule works 
both ways. Plain food^s best for Christians. 
There^s a vast o' what I call goody shops i' these 
times — high edicated men as preaches nought but 
fine larnin' an^ pretty bits o' poetry an' sentences 
as finishes up with a flourish, as always reminds 



271 

me of the city bellman^ when he^s gived out a 
notice, and tucks his bell under his arm wi^ such 
an air as if there warn't another bell in England 
to match it. WeU, folks listens to this sort o' 
preaching, and listens and listens and gets their 
mouths so full of sugar, while they can't relish 
things as has proper nutriment in 'em, the solid 
food o' the Gospel. Now I don't go to say 
nothing against fine preachers, them as sells 
goodies, ye know. I like a lozenge myself now 
and then for a change, but it won't do to keep to 
'em, friends, it won't do to keep to 'em. We 
must come back to the old shop after all, and 
feed on the unleavened bread of sincerity and 
truth. And now I don't know that I've got 
anything else to say. God has been blessing my 
soul this week. As sister Cromarty says, He 
fills me often with such a holy joy, while I can't 
find words to tell it. And I love to work for 
Him, I never lets a day pass without speakin' a 
word for the Saviour, and trying to bring poor 
sinners to Him. May He bless us all, and keep 
us going right straight on to the end, and then 
say to us, ' Well done good and faithful servants.' 
Amen !" 



272 

Before Luke Ryan had finished^ the hour-hand 
of the clock pointed to ten. Again the minister 
rose and gave out a hynin_, which was sung to one 
of those hearty^ energetic, inspiring tunes the 
Primitive Methodists love so well. Everyone 
joined in it. Even the old man who had that 
week buried his dead out of his sight, tuned up, 
and in a faint, quavering voice tried to swell the 
chorus. 

"Let us pray,^^ said the minister, when the 
hymn was over. Again they knelt, and he 
offered another short prayer, to which the people 
responded as before. He asked that God would 
bless the word spoken that night ; that He would 
help those present to go through their work with 
fresh energy, doing all they did as unto God, and 
not unto man; seeing in every duty a means of grace, 
and brightening every trial with the hope of glory 
which lay beyond. He asked that wherever 
Christ's people saw the print of their Master's 
footsteps, they might be willing to place their 
own, even though thorns were in the track. He 
asked that the weary and heavy-laden might go 
away from that meeting refreshed, that the 
tempted might be strengthened, that the brother 



ST. OLAVE^S- 273 

ou whom God had laid His afflicting hand might 
have the oil and wine of heavenly grace richly 
poured into his heart ; and that all sorrow, where- 
ever sent, might yield hereafter the peaceable 
fruit of righteousness. 

Listening to him, Mrs. Edenall felt, for the first 
time in her life, how strongly through such prayers 
as these — 

" The whole round world is every way 
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God." 

The people seemed in no hurry to leave after 
the service was over. Some of them clustered to- 
gether, talking over the words that had been said. 
The minister went about amongst them, speaking 
good words, pleasant words too they seemed to be, 
from the bright looks which they called forth. 
He stayed long by the side of the old man, hold- 
ing his withered hand, and speaking to him in 
gentle tender tones. 

Mrs. Edenall lingered until nearly the last. She 
would have stolen away unperceived if she could, 
but the preacher saw her just as she was going 
out. 

" Madam," he said, laying his hand on hers, 

VOL. II. T 



274 ST. OLAVE^S. 

which were clasped so tightly beneath the folds of 
her cloak. " Madam, you are a stranger to me, 
but I trust we are both members of that family 
which shall one day meet unbroken before the 
throne of God.^^ 

The words were very simple, but they went to 
her heart. He said them with a grave sweet ten- 
derness, smiling all the while. She could not 
reply, for his kindness had brought the tears to 
her eyes. She glided silently past him into the 
quiet, dimly-lighted street, and he saw her no 
more. It was the last service he ever held in that 
room. The next Thursday evening a stranger was 
in his place, the next he was worshipping in the 
temple not made with hands. 

This was one of those chance meetings, bur- 
dened sometimes with the issues of life or death, 
wherein for one brief moment heart touches heart 
beneath the shadow of God^s presence, and in that 
touch finds healing. 



275 



CHAPTER XIX. 



fflS LL this time Janet and David sat quietly 

Ml together in the parlour at Westwood. 

For once she had laid aside the 



little white sock^ and was hemming a fine cambric 
pocket-handkerchief for her brother. A pair of 
white gloves lay on the work-table by her side, she 
had been stitching the buttons more securely on — 
Janet had an almost idolatrous reverence for her 
brother's comfort in the matter of buttons — and 
beside the gloves was a black silk tie which re- 
quired an inch of its length curtailing. 

Janet Bruce looked peaceful,, almost happy, as 
she stitched away with the regularity and precision 
of a sewing machine. This sisterly love, in all its 

1 2 



276 ST. OLAVE^S. 

patient and sometimes scarcely noticed ministra- 
tions, was the only earthly interest left to fill and 
quiet her life. 

David Bruce had been working hard through 
the day, and seemed weary enough when Janet 
took away his overcoat and helped him on with 
the loose study wrap of fine tartan which had been 
warming at the fire for an hour past. But it was 
only bodily weakness, his voice was cheery and 
genial, even breaking forth now and then into a 
low pleasant laugh, as by-and-by they began to 
talk of the old life with its cares and struggles 
over-past, — of the coming life too, brightened in 
Janet's thoughts by the stillness of unbroken 
home-peace, in David's by hopes too bright to be 
steadily gazed upon until now. 

Janet never dreamed of her brother marrying. 
He was so silent and reserved, so completely un- 
like the trim, dapper, finely polished men, who 
prove most successful in matrimonial speculations. 
Even in the days of their prosperity at Perth, 
when, had he been so disposed, he might have 
" settled advantageously," as the phrase is, he had 
led a quiet shut-up life, never entangled in any- 
thing that had the remotest tinge of romance or 



277 

love-making ; and since the sudden stroke wliicli 
swept away their fortune and compelled them to 
begin the world afresh, the struggle for daily 
bread had been so uncertain, that she was quite 
sure he would be far too proud to ask any woman 
to share it with him. She never asked herself how 
she should feel if another chanced to come in be- 
tween them, and take from her hands those loving 
little duties which it had so long been the sweet- 
ness of her life to offer ; nor how her lips would 
learn to fashion another phrase than the one so 
habitual to them now — '^ My brother and I." 

The sleet drove heavily against the windows, and 
the leafless branches of the linden trees creaked as 
the wind chafed upon them ; but the brother and 
sister by their cosy fireside heard neither. They 
did not often get a quiet evening together now. 
Ever since David^s return from London, three 
weeks ago, the strange nervous excitability which 
had come over Mrs. Edenall had sadly marred 
their household peace. Janet was utterly per- 
plexed to account for this change. Mrs. Edenall 
had received no letters that could have troubled 
her, for it was months now since any bearing her 
name had been left at Westwood ; nor did she 



278 ST. OLAVE^S. 

seem to be fretting herself over their non-amvalj 
for the postman^s knock never startled lier_, she 
never wearied for his coming, nor seemed disap- 
pointed as morning after morning he passed by the 
garden gate. She would own to no illness, indeed 
she seemed to scorn all bodily fatigue and exposure, 
and would tramp through the wildest storms, or 
over miles of snow-covered moorland, with a proud 
angry sort of defiance^ It could not be either that 
she was chafed by any seeming neglect of her 
comfort, for all the household arrangements were 
carried on in the old way, and never by the slightest 
hint was she made aware that her presence was 
less needed than heretofore. Yet day by day she 
became more incomprehensible. She was her old 
self again, nay, worse than her old self, for the 
Mrs. Edenall of eight months ago was only cold 
and haughtily indifferent, and the Mrs. Edenall of 
the last few weeks had been like a perpetual pre- 
sence of evil in the quiet little household. 

As the time of the Festival drew on, she 
seemed to be possessed with an uncontrollable 
spirit of restlessness. When she was not pacing 
rapidly up and down the room, her fingers 
would twitch nervously, and anything that she took 



279 

into her hands was soon pulled to pieces. 
Sometimes she used to sit for hours together, 
tearing up paper into small fragments with the 
desperate sort of industry of a person who puts 
her whole soul into the work, her lips trem- 
bling all the wliile and her forehead gathered 
into frowns. Then she would lay them on the 
hot bars of the fireplace and watch with a sar- 
donic smile how they withered and curled and 
shrivelled before the hissing flames leaped forth 
upon them. 

A chilling fear came into Janet's mind some- 
times that the woman was really becoming mad ; 
only that her thoughts when she did converse 
were always quite collected, and when she argued 
on any subject with Mr. Bruce — which she often 
did, for it seemed to afi'ord a vent for the latent 
combativeness of her nature — there was a clear, 
forceful energy and foresightedness in all she 
said. Still Janet seemed more and more to 
shrink from her. Only the incident of Mrs. 
EdenalFs great kindness during those dreary 
weeks of illness lingered on, and could not befor- 
gotten. 

But though neither of them made any com- 



280 

plaint^ both felt tliat it was pleasant to have 
the little spell of quiet which her absence afforded. 
It seemed when she was gone as if some strange 
inexplicable bond had suddenly been lifted away 
from them, as if the passes of some invisible 
hand had ceased, and its magnetic current 
stayed. 

David Bruce's prosperity so far had made 
no difference to the establishment at West- 
wood. 

Everything went on in the old-fashioned track 
under Tibbie's active management. At the 
time prescribed by etiquette, Miss Bruce put on 
her seldom- worn black silk dress and made a 
round of calls; but the dinner, supper, and 
quadrille party invitations which speedily followed 
were all declined, and so the sudden explosion of 
friendliness on the part of the Close families 
seemed likely to end in smoke. Looking in upon 
the two as they sat there so easily and quietly, 
he in his great arm chair, she in a low Devon- 
shire seat by his side, it seemed likely enough 
to remain "my brother and V to the end of 
the chapter. 

" There then, Davie, it is finished,^' said Janet, 



ST. olave's. 281 

holding up the silken-fine handkerchief between 
her eyes and the lamplight. "Now 1^11 mark 
it in commemoration of the occasion." 

She fetched a little bottle of marking ink from 
the closet and began very slowly to write upon 
the corner. Then she held it to the fire^ which 
brought out in small dainty characters the in- 
scription — 

" David Bruce. Westwood parlour. The night 
before the Oratorio." 

" Now_, Davie/' she said, as she flung it 
playfully over his face — Janet was quite in an 
exalted state of merriment to-night — " there wonH 
be a finer handkerchief than that in the Hall 
of Guild to-morrow night,, and so if your feelings 
overcome you, you neednH be ashamed of giving 
way to them, and letting it have a baptism of 
tears. I believe everything is quite ready now. 
I have fastened those buttons of yours securely 
— it's so disagreeable, you know, when they 
come ofi* just at the last moment — and that neck- 
tie is exactly the length you want. And Davie, 
now, do mind when you go to dress what collar 
you get out of the box. I should be so concerned 
if I saw you come on the orchestra with one of 



282 

those untidy Napoleons, like what you are 
wearing now." 

" Never mind, Jeanie, they^re very comfortable, 
but 1^11 do as you tell me if I can remember." 

David Bruce said no more. Just then a gleam 
of firelight wandering over his study wrap, shone 
upon a single golden hair, a long, waving, rip- 
pling golden hair, which had lain undisturbed 
ever since that November afternoon when Alice 
Grey came to say good-bye to him before he went 
to London. Then, such a weary distance seemed 
to part them. Heart to heart though they stood, 
the iron barriers of caste gloomed grimly up 
between them and kept the hands asunder which 
belonged to each other. Now they stood free 
and equal, and those fingers of hers would not 
soil their high-born whiteness within the clasp of 
his. It was this thought that made the rare 
smile flash like sunshine over his face. 

Janet noted the smile, but nothing more. 
Seeing that he did not seem inclined to talk, she 
took up the knitting work that lay upon the 
table, and presently fell into a train of meditation 
which blossomed out after the lapse of a full 
half-hour into speech. 



283 

" Davie_, I have been thinking that now money 
matters are so much easier with us than they 
used to be^ I can make you a set of real fine linen 
shirts. I have been wanting you to have them so 
long, all linen you know, like what you used to 
wear in the old times. And, Davie, perhaps after 
this Oratorio, you'll be obliged to go a little 
more into company, and I thought a couple of 
them had better be made with a tiny little cam- 
bric friU and a strip of embroidery down the 
fronts, for full dress you know." 

No answer, not even a smile from those still 
shut-up lips. 

The mention of visiting seemed to lead Janet's 
thoughts to the Old Lodge, the only home whose 
hospitality they had shared since their residence in 
St. Olave's, for by-and-by she said — 

"Alice Grey comes home to-night.'' 

David turned round with a questioning look. 

" Alice Grey comes home to-night, Davie," and 
then Janet paused to pick up a stitch that had 
slipped from the needle. 

It was almost the only time Alice's name had 
been mentioned since that evening of David's re- 
turn from London. Somehow she had not been to 



284 ST. OLAVE^S. 

Westwood so frequently of late. Mr. Bruce^s 
long illness necessarily slacked their intercourse ; 
then close upon it came Aunt AmiePs affliction 
and Alice^s visit to Brighton, not to mention that 
new interest which had sprung up in her life and 
made other friendships less needful. As for David, 
the thought of her lay too far away down in his 
heart ever to come up with the stray drift that 
sometimes floated to the surface. 

''Yes, she was to arrive about eight o'clock. 
Miss Luckie told me. And, brother, it has been on 
my mind a long time to ask her to tea. You know 
we ought to have done so after the pic-nic last 
September, but your going to London interfered; 
and I thought she might not care so much to 
come when you were away, for she likes to hear 
you talk and listen to your music. She told me 
once she liked your music better than any other.'' 

Still, no answer but the smile, the deepening 
smile which Janet loved so well to see upon her bro- 
ther's face, for it seemed to speak to her of rest after 
the hard toil and struggle of the past few years. 
David had been so grave since they came to St. 
Olave's. She went on. 

"I know Alice is very fond of coming here. 



ST. OLAVE^S. 285 

but Mrs. Edenall is so strange just now that she 
might not enjoy it so much. You might play to 
her though in the front parlour, and I could keep 
Mrs. Edenall here. I am sure she would be glad 
to come. She told me a long time ago that she was 
looking forward to this Festival very much, and I 
believe it was because she thought your Oratorio 
would likely be performed.^^ 

Janet said all this, knitting on in her quiet, 
peaceful, unconscious way, looking sometimes into 
the clear firelight, sometimes into her brother's 
face, with that staid unquestioning expression 
that had become so habitual to her. 

What a comfort it is sometimes to be talked to 
by people of slow comprehension, people who don't 
have "intuitions'' or "impressions" or "presen- 
timents," — ^people who have not learned to use that 
magic elixir which, poured over the tablets of the 
heart, brings out the hidden writing upon them. 
Janet Bruce was singularly unperceptive. She 
never found out a truth for herself, and even when 
one was presented to her, she rarely received it ex- 
cept after very patient investigation. Her pro- 
cesses of thought were slow, deliberate, lengthy. 

And yet she was a great comfort to her 



286 

brother, more so perhaps than if had she been one 
of those inventive geniuses who can divine the des- 
tinies of a lifetime from the glance of an eye or the 
lightning of a momentary smile. 

When Alice made that little speech about the 
Festival, it was with an innocent hope that the 
remark might produce further questioning, and 
so give her an opportunity of disclosing the 
secret with which her young heart was burdened. 
But Janet had not perceived this, and so as yet 
she remained in ignorance of Alice Grey's en- 
gagement. 

She was not likely to hear of it in any other 
way. 

The etiquette of courtship, especially in its 
earlier stages, was somewhat rigid amongst the 
Close families. 

Those arm-in-arm strolls and moonlight teie-a- 
tetes, whereby young people of the middle classes 
proclaim their mutual attachment, were frowned 
upon by the St. Olave's upper ten, and monopo- 
lized by scullery girls or maids of all work. Not 
until the marriage-day was fixed and the bridal 
outfit prepared was it considered correct for affianced 
aristocrats to make a public appearance in each 



ST. OLAVE^S. 287 

other's company. So that as yet gossip had not 
laid its smutty finger on Alice's name to link 
it with that of her future husband ; nor^ had Miss 
Bruce possessed the entree of all the St. Olave's 
tea-circles^ would she have been enlightened as to 
the matrimonial prospects of her young friend. 
Perhaps the closeness of the Close people in this 
respect was very wise. 

Janet was still talking to her brother when the 
garden gate opened, and footsteps were heard on 
the gravel walk. Their pleasant evening was at 
an end. No, not quite, for Mrs. Edenall passed 
the parlour and went up-stairs to her own room, 
not even coming in to say the good-night and 
give the parting hand-clasp which had been ex- 
changed so often between them. 

Janet heaved a little sigh of relief and settled 
down to the knitting work again, as the door of 
Mrs. EdenalFs room closed and the grating of the 
key in the lock sounded through the wide pas- 



" Surely the concert cannot be through yet, 
Davie; but she's been aye restless the day, and 
perhaps she was wearying for home." 



288 




CHAPTER XX. 

(T was the last day of the Festival. Since 
Monday the excitement had been thick- 
ening; and indeed it was time the 
great affair came to a crisis, for St. Olave's had 
been turned wrong side out_, upside down, and 
downside up, until the poor little city scarce knew 
itself for the same. The Cathedral bells had rung 
themselves hoarse. Morning, noon, and night 
their clamour smote upon the air. The rooks in 
the belfry tower were well nigh distracted, and 
after bearing the nuisance for a day or two had 
retired in disgust to temporary lodgings within the 
Westwood elms. Indeed, had the hubbub con- 
tinued much longer, they must have presented 



289 

themselves in a body to the Dean and Chapter to 
pray for a restoration of peace. 

For the first three days, multitudes of cheap- 
trippers had flaunted through the streets, bran- 
dishing cotton umbrellas and carrying huge 
baskets of prog with bottle necks protruding 
through the lids. Even the Cathedral pavement 
itself had been defaced by remains of penny 
pies and wrappings of ham sandwiches, for the 
Millsmany folk turned the nave into a temporary 
symposium, and gratified their organs of admira- 
tion and alimentiveness simultaneously. 

Friday, however, the great day of the Festival, 
was set apart for the exclusive benefit of the 
county families. The last of the cheap trips had 
cleared away out of the station. The vulgar tones 
of the mill people no longer mingled like a muddy 
torrent with the clear silvery ringing accents of 
the ^' quality. ^^ The lower stratum of the social 
compact had had its share of enjoyment, and this 
closing evening was sacred to ^'Jael^^ and gen- 
tility. 

Alice Grey and Mrs. Scjymgeour arrived from 
Brighton on Thursday. She was to go to tlic 
Oratorio with the party from Chapter Court ; Mrs. 

VOL il. u 



290 ST. OLAVE^S. 

Cromarty promised to take exclusive charge of 
Aunt Amiel for one evenings in order that Miss 
Luclde might chaperon Janet Bruce_, for David 
expected to be hard at work up to the very last 
moment. 

The St. Olave's Hall of Guild, where the mu- 
sical festivals were held, was a noble old place, in 
thorough keeping with the rest of the city. It was 
erected by the burghers in the sixteenth century, 
and its massy walls had looked upon many a jovial 
banquet in the merry days of yore. Since the 
completion of the new Mansion-house it had been 
disused for civic purposes, and the Corporation 
fitted it up as a public room for concerts, assemblies, 
and the like. It was a long lofty building, with a 
richly- carved and groined roof. Formerly the 
space between the groining was left plain, but after 
its appropriation as a Music Hall, it was decorated 
with rich arabesque tracery of crimson, blue, and 
gold, and lit by innumerable tiny jets of gas 
that threw out into fine relief its quaint old 
bosses and finely wrought medallions. The win- 
dows were mullioned, filled with stained glass, 
which in the day time gave the room quite an 
ecclesiastical appearance. On full-dress occasions, 



291 

however, they were draped by heavy crimson vel- 
vet curtains, which formed an effective background 
for the ladies' brightly tinted costumes. The spaces 
between the windows were filled in with a diaper 
pattern of blue and gold, with heraldic devices be- 
longing to the different families of St. Olave's. 
Here and there a scarred and tattered banner, 
relic of some long-past battle, fluttered from the 
groined roof, strangely out of character with the 
present appearance of the place, but telling its own 
story of rack and tumult. 

The orchestra was very beautiful, occupying one 
entire end of the room. It was enclosed by three 
lofty arches springing from clustered columns, and 
rising to the roof. Within these arches, high up 
out of sight, were placed rows of lights pouring 
down a rich glow upon the organ, which with its 
elaborately decorated pipes looked like some gor- 
geous Eastern shrine or Moonsh mosque. 

Round the back of this orchestra, in deep stone 
niches with canopies carved and fretted like those 
of the Cathedral, were ranged the statues of 
Europe's great composers. Handel, the melodious 
Titan, massive and majestic as one of his own 
choruses ; Beethoven, tlie Michael Angelo of 

V 2 



292 ST. OLAVE^S. 

miisic_, witli his sublime brow and tangled elf 
locks ; Weber^ pale_, passionless, and still, pure as 
an iceberg, and as cold ; Mendelssohn, with that 
uplifted heaven-lighted face of his, — living so near 
to the angels what wonder he caught their like- 
ness ? Mozart, upon whose calm front, fame and 
death so early set their seal, was there too ; and 
Haydn, with clasped hands and lips folded down 
in stately repose. Pergolesi bent forward his rapt 
face as though listening to far-off choirs ; Rossini, 
bright and jubilant as a strain of Italian song, 
smiled his everlasting smile ; and next him cam-e 
Bellini, quiet and self-contained as his own Norma, 
yet not lacking the mingled grace and sweetness 
which could conceive the wondrous melodies of 
Somnambula. Nor in that guild of fame-crowned 
heads were wanting those whom England has 
nurtured, and whose names have helped to make 
her famous. Tallis, Bird, Purcell, Gibbon, Far- 
rant, staunch venerable old patron saints of music, 
whose grand thoughts, breathed forth day by day 
from many a Cathedral choir, keep their name 
and memory green, uplifted their heads side by 
side with the great continental maestros ; the 
quaint, trim nationality of their aspect contrast- 



ST. olave's. 293 

ing oddly, and yet not unpleasantly, with the 
laurel- wreathed brows and flowing robes of their 
foreign compeers. 

The hall filled; group after group of gaily- 
dressed people came sailing in. Stout old 
squiresses in purple velvet and diamonds ; blonde 
beauties in clouds of floating tulle; here and 
there a bride — there had been some weddings 
lately amongst the county families — half-hidden 
in a snow-drift of white glace ; then a brunette, 
resplendent in crimson draperies, or magnificently 
flashing in amber satin and black lace. One by 
one, the military people, always a great feature in 
St. Olave^s on public occasions, came dropping in, 
their laced and braided uniforms flashing back 
the glare of light from the roof. 

Amongst the earliest arrivals came Mrs. Arch- 
deacon Scrymgeour, in a strong-minded looking 
dress of some dead black material, over which a 
transparent scarf of greyish-white gauze mean- 
dered, like pufts of steam from an unpolished 
tea-kettle. Cuthbert Scrymgeour and Alice 
accompanied her — I speak advisedly; the Arch- 
deacon^s widow never, in the social sense of the 
word, condescended to accompany her friends 



294 

she was always the circumstance of any group in 
which she formed a part, the active inflection of 
the verb. Alice wore a white dress to-night^ the 
same as that in which she had appeared at the 
eventful Chapter Court party^ only that now her 
delicate beauty was heightened by an opera mantle 
of light blue, edged with miniver, and, instead of 
the pearl cordon, one single half-blown white 
rose was placed in her hair, nestling lo\ingly 
amongst the brown curls, as though glad to find 
so pleasant a resting- place. 

Blanche Egerton, the dreamy-eyed brunette, 
came in next, bland, regal, composed, leaning on 
the arm of the county member. His other con- 
venience for escorting ladies was occupied by 
Miss Fullerton, who seemed to view the whole 
concern from a metropolitan point of view, and 
despised it accordingly. After them. Captain 
Madden brought in the two Misses Spurge, with 
their mamma in the background — a tm-bulent 
mass of satin, pearls, and flounces. Next came 
Janet Bruce and Miss Luckie ; but, as their 
appearance did not add to the brilliance of the 
scene, it is needless to particularize them. There 
was a very gay party from the Palace ; the Bishop 



ST. olave's. 295 

himself could not be present on account of his 
duties at the House ; but the Honourable Mrs. 
Standish, with half a dozen guests^ more than 
supplied his place. The Deanery contributed its 
quota of beauty, in the shape of Elene Somers 
and her cousin, blonde nymphs in blue and silver, 
attended by a major from the barracks. After 
them came Canon Crumpet and his lady, bringing- 
up the rear of the Close phalanx ecclesiastical. 

As the Cathedral bells struck eight, the band 
and chorus took their places, to the number of 
nearly a hundred. For the most part, they were 
a noble-looking set, Avith the frank, open expres- 
sion of countenance which men, whose life em- 
ployment is a joy to them, generally wear. 
Following them, were the little chorister boys from 
the Catheclral, with carefully-polished faces and 
well-brushed hair. The little fellows looked very 
solemn, and were evidently perplexed about the 
management of their hands — a perplexity which 
ended by the unruly members being pocketed. 

When all was arranged, David Bruce, holding 
his roll of music and conductor's baton, came up 
the narrow stair that led from the private room. 
A tumultuous sound of applause greeted liim as 



296 ST. OLAVE^S. 

he stood for a moment or two in front of the 
orchestra, before taking his place at the desk. 
He received it very calmly^ not appearing either 
pleased or flattered by it. There was a sort of 
rock-like firmness about his character, against 
which the waves of praise and blame alike might 
beat as long as they chose, and move it not a 
hair^s-breadth. 

Janet Bruce was very humble. There was not 
a particle of what the world calls vanity or con- 
ceit in her composition ; but a flush of pleasure 
eddied up to her forehead, as she saw her 
brother receiving the homage and admiration of a 
set of people who, six months ago, would have 
scorned to give him even the honour of a passing- 
smile. She thought he looked very noble, kingly 
as any king might look, as he acknowledged, 
with a certain grave, sedate majesty, the greetings 
flung upon him. The light shone bravely down 
over his grand face, so calm, so almost provid in 
its stillness, and threw out, in bold relief against 
the crimson draperies of the orchestra, his great 
massive head, with its crown of tangled hair. 

For one brief moment he scanned that sea of 
upturned faces, searching for the one which day 



297 

and niglit lay ever in liis thoughts. He found it ; 
their eyes met^ and a bright smile of recognition 
flashed from hers. David Bruce bent his head to 
hide the eager flush of pleasure which that look 
had brought^ then turned away to his place at the 
conductor's desk. 

By the rules of the Festival Committee_, 
applause of any kind during the performance of 
sacred music was strictly forbidden; and, when 
the first peals of welcome had subsided_, the 
Oratorio proceeded in the midst of profound 
silence. But there needed neither waving of 
handkerchiefs nor clapping of hands to show how 
surely it was winning its way to the hearts of the 
people. It was strange to notice how, even 
before the overture came to a close, the profes- 
sionals, who were in the room, bent forward with 
keen interest, and then one by one moved, as if 
drawn by some invisible magnet, to the front of 
the orchestra, where they stood with clasped hands 
and rapt, wondering faces. Again and again, as 
the last notes of some exquisite chorale or solo 
died away, a sigh of intense excitement thrilled 
through the room, and a low murmur of delight, 
stifled as soon as it broke forth by the quick. 



298 ST. olaye's, 

impatient " Hush ! hush ! " of eager listeners. 

Smiles chased over Alice's face, as she recog- 
nized phrase after phrase of music that she had 
copied for him, or which David had played to her 
in the little parlour at Westwood. On the music 
swept ; sometimes grand and stately, with a 
strong, over-mastering force, beneath which the 
whole concourse of people swayed hither and 
thither, like reeds shaken by the wind ; some- 
times plaintive and weird-like, waking hearts that 
had long time slept, and raising them, as all true 
music does, to a purer life. Many bowed their 
faces and wept ; some with shut eyes listened, not 
to the music, but to the memories it had stirred 
within them ; and a few men and women, whom 
the angel Gabriel might have tried in vain to 
move, just sat through it all with vacant, un- 
smiling faces. 

David Bruce, standing with his back to the 
people, saw nothing of all this. His whole mind 
was intent on the work he had to do ; and very 
nobly he did it. His countenance reflected each 
shade of feeling in the music ; its spirit seemed to 
have entered into him, making his every gesture 
instinct with matchless grace and dignity. The 



ST. olave's. 299 

performers^ watching him eagerly_, caught his 
enthusiasm, and obeyed, with deft skill, each 
motion of the magic baton, which, now uplifted, 
now depressed, swelled or curbed their harmonies. 

After the close of the first part of the Oratorio, 
there was an interval of twenty minutes. The band 
and chorus speedily emptied themselves into the 
large ante-room below, where they fell to work 
upon the cold collation that had been pro^dded 
there. For musicians, like other men, have '^inter- 
nal motives,^^ and musical exertion, whether it be of 
throat or arms, appears to have an iuAdgorating 
effect upon the appetite. 

After the orchestra was cleared, the hall convert- 
ed itself into a promenade. Gentlemen got up 
and sauntered about to stretch themselves after 
two hours' spell of unwonted excitement. The 
connoisseurs clustered into little groups here and 
there, eagerly discussing the merits of the 
music. 

Miss Luckie, to whom even a silence of ten 
minutes seemed interminable, broke out into a 
pleasant little trickle of conversation as soon as the 
restraint was removed. 

'^ So happy to congratulate you, my dear Miss 



800 

Bmce^ so very happy. It really must be such a 
triumpii to you. To think^ you know^ that Mr. 
Bruce^ poor man — at least — -oh dear I beg pardon ! 
I^m always saying things I didnH mean to^ but 
Mr. Bruce was such a quiet man^ such an exceed- 
ingly quiet man^ I remarked ^fea*. from the very 
first, that no one ever supposed he would be likely 
to stand in such a position as he occupies to- 
night_, and I^m sure if he were my own brother I 
couldn^t be more glad for him, and for you too_, 
dear Miss Bruce. But I do believe the Bishop's 
lady is coming this way to offer her congratula- 
tions ; yes, she is indeed. I declare it has put me 
quite into a flutter. Don't introduce me, dear 
Miss Bruce, pray don^t ; my heart beats so I don't 
know what to do." And Miss Luckie's Notting- 
ham lace lappets — she had got a new head dress 
for the occasion — whisked round in a perfect 
tremor of nervous agitation. 

Yes, the Honourable Mrs. StandisVs black vel- 
vet dress was actually sweeping the floor just in 
front of them, and her ostrich plumes swayed in 
the scented air as she reached out her gloved 
hand with calm cathedralesque dignity. She was 
proud to have the honour of felicitating Miss 



ST. OLAVE^S. 301 

Bruce on tlie brilliant success of tlie evening ; the 
name of David Bruce would liencefortli confer new 
honour on St. Olave's; she hoped this was only the 
commencement of a series of triumphs which 
should ere long elevate the illustrious composer to 
the highest pinnacle of musical fame^ &c. &c. 
Ere Mrs Standish had concluded her flowery 
address, she made way for the Dean^s lady and Sir 
Harry Monbello, who had come on the same 
errand ; and they were followed by Canon Crum- 
pet and the county member and his daughter. 
Indeed Miss Bruce held quite a miniature levee 
during that space of twenty minutes. 

" Thank you, you are kind," was the only 
answer she could make to the compliments and 
congratulations which poured down upon her. 
Poor Janet, she had a very limited stock of the 
sugared bon-bons of social intercourse. She 
never said anything that she did not mean, and 
people who make much of sincerity soon get 
stranded in their conversational cruises. 

By-and-by Alice came. 

" I couldn't press my way through the fence of 
aristocracy before," she said, nestling her hand 
in Janet's whilst her eyes sparkled and licr face 



302 

fluslied with pleasure^ '^ but I^m glad for you Miss 
Bruce^ Fm very glad/' 

It was all she said ; a half quiver in her voice 
told the rest. 

" How sweet Miss Grey is looking to-night/' 
said Janet as Alice floated away to her seat beside 
Mrs. Scrymgeour^ Cuthbert was in another part 
of the room talking to some gentlemen friends ; " I 
think she grows prettier and prettier.'' 

*' Yes^ yes/' rejilied Miss Luckie with a series 
of pleasant mysterious little nods^ ^' won't it 
be a very delightful sight now to see her in her 
veil and orange blossom ?" 

'' Well I suppose it will. Is there a possibility 
of her appearing in that costume before long?" 

" Why you know/' and Miss Luckie dropped 
her voice and went through another series of nods^ 
" it isn't talked about yet^ but I don't mind telling 
you because I know you live so very retired and 
won't mention it again; I do believe MissBruce^ if I 
were to get married myself, the wedding dress would 
have been dyed and turned bottom to the top before 
you would hear of the aifair. Yes, I am happy to 
say Alice has achieved her destiny ; at least she 
has taken the preliminary steps» You know I'm 



303 

always so glad when young people get engaged^, it^s 
so much better than hanging on the bough until 
they get quite out of season and then drop off into 
irretrievable old maidenhood/^ 

"And may I ask who the gentleman is?" said 
Janet^ with that faintest little tinge of cui'i- 
osity which creeps unawares into every woman's 
heart at the mention of a wedding. 

" Dear me^ how stupid not to have told you that 
at firsts but I never could get into the way of 
saying the right thing at the right time. The for- 
tunate individual is Mr. Scrymgeour, the nephew 
of the Archdeacon's widow^ you know. There he 
is^look^ sitting beside her^ — no he isn'teither; really 
now where can he have got to^ I'm sure he was there 
not ten minutes ago — Oh ! yonder he is^ standing 
just under the second window, you see him, don't 
you, with curly hair and long whiskers ?" 

" Yes. I am not surprised, Mr Scrymgeour is 
very handsome," and Janet's thoughts went back 
to the evening of the pic-nic when she and David 
had touched upon that same subject. It had al- 
ways seemed to her likely enough that Alice 
should take a fancy to Mr. Scrymgeour. 

'^ You think he is handsome, don't you? I said 



304 

wlien first lie began to come about tlie house tli at 
be was a perfect — dear me_, what do they call that 
good looking god? — Apollo, ah that^s it. I 
always said he was a perfect Apollo, just the sort 
of young man you know to fascinate a girl of good 
taste, and such perfect manners. The wedding is 
to be this summer." 

^'1 do not know him at all, except by sight. 
But they will be a striking pair." 

^' You're quite right. It isn^t often that beauti- 
ful women are equally matched in that respect. 
A very pretty girl I once knew, fixed her afi'ec- 
tions on the oddest piece of humanity that was 
ever invented, and turned him into a husband. A 
very good one he made too — everybody said the 
match was a perfectly happy one ; but I always 
think it^s a pity for such things to happen." 

^' The only thing that troubles me," continued 
Miss Luckie, who seemed loth to quit her sul)ject, 
" the only thing that troubles me is, that I am 
afraid we can't have anything mucli of a spread at 
the wedding. You see poor dear old Mrs. Grey's 
terrible state of health quite precludes any attempt 
at splendour. And I do so dote on a pretty wedding. 
From such a magnificent old house too. Do 



ST. olave's. 305 

you know there hasiiH been a wedding from the 
Lodge for ninety years, and it would have rejoiced 
my heart to have seen everything in first-rate 
style. I expect Mrs. Scrymgeour will have the 
management, and I shall feel quite distressed if 
the occasion passes oft' with anything less than eight 
bridesmaids and a moire antique. But, dear me, 1 
declare the band is coming back again ; how soon 
the time slips away when one is chatting.'^ 

The orchestra filed into their places, and the 
music was resumed. The people listened with 
unabated, or, if possible, intenser interest. There 
was more of dramatic excitement in the second 
part of the Oratorio. JaeFs deed of desperate 
daring, Deborah's triumphant ode, the dirge of 
the childless mother, and the jubilant chorus of a 
freed nation — these were grand subjects for a 
musician, and David had dealt nobly with them. 

Scarcely were the last lingering tones of the 
concluding chorus hushed, when the pent-up 
enthusiasm of the people burst forth in acclama- 
tions, which seemed as if they would shake the 
building down. Surely never before had the good 
folks of St. Olave's allowed themselves to be so 
carried away by their feelings. Hats and hand- 

VUL. II. X 



306 ST. olave\s. 

kerchiefs were waved^ bouquets were thrown upon 
the orchestra — even staid old Cathedral dignitaries 
shared in the general excitement_, and helped for- 
ward the applause with feet_, hands^ and voices. 
Thrice that night was David Bruce recalled upon 
the orchestra ; and thrice,, as he obeyed the sum- 
mons^ peals of greeting made the echoes of 
the old room ring again, and shook the air until 
the shot-torn banners that had hung motionless 
for centuries, quivered in every fold. 

David Bruce stood very calmly amidst it all. 

They had but given him his own place, and 
crowned him with the laurels his own toil had 
won. And those laurels were only dear to him 
because, wearing them, he might stand worthily 
side by side with Alice Grey. 

When the tumult had somewhat ceased, he 
made his way down into the little private room 
behind the orchestra. Not private now though, 
for it was thronged with dilettanti noblemen and 
connoisseurs, who had come to congratulate the 
composer on his brilliant success. And dainty, 
white-gloved hands were held out for a touch of 
his, and there was a sheen of satin and flutter of 
lace as one courtly dame after another pressed 



ST. olave's. 307 

forwards to solicit an introduction ; and eyes that 
had erewhile turned scornfully away looked 
brightly into his^ and lips once curled in contempt 
wore a smile most sweet and humble. 

It was David Bruce's coronation night — he 
stood a king amongst them at last. 

An hour later^ he and Janet sat quietly together 
in the little parlour at Westwood. He was very 
pale and worn^, but there was a happy smile upon 
his face — the smile of one who has toiled and 
triumphed, and rests now in the consciousness of 
victory. Janet sat by him, still in the dress she 
had worn at the Hall of Guild — black silk, with a 
single deep red rose that David had given her, 
fastened into the velvet knot which covered her 
hair behind. The most fastidious critic would 
scarcely have called Janet Bruce plain to-night 
for the pride of a loving heart shone through her 
face, and that makes any one beautiful. 

, David would not have the lamp lighted, so they 
sat there in the clear red fire-light, he leaning 
back wearily in his great arm-chair. They were 
talking of his long waiting time, and the success 
which had crowned it at last. And as very often 

X 2 



308 ST. olave's. 

when they were alone^ they journeyed back again 
to the long-ago Perth days, to the old, old life 
which, behind this sudden sunshine of prosperity, 
seemed slipping farther and farther away. At last 
the talk wore itself out. Janet folded her hands 
on her knees and sent forward, gazing dreamily 
into the fire. David turned his head away from 
her, dreaming too. 

Was it dreamlight or firelight that brightened 
all his face ? Let him dream on, the waking will 
come in its own time and its own way. 

The Minster bell struck one — a solitary sharp 
sound falling heavily upon the silence that 
had grown so deep between them. Janet heard it, 
androused herself as if suddenly remembering some- 
thing. 

^^ Brother Davie, wake up." 

" I was no asleep, Jean — only thinking." 

" Well, then, I have got a piece of news to tell 
you." 

" A piece of news ! It is not often you happen 
on such a precious commodity. What is it 
about ?" 

'' I suppose you mean loho is it about. Our 
little friend Alice Grey is going to be married." 



309 

David Bruce said nothing. His head drooped 
a little lower^ that was all. 

" NoW;, Davie_, don^t go to sleep again^ until I 
get it all told. You know Mr. Scrymgeour — Mr. 
Cuthbert Scrymgeour — that very handsome gentle- 
man with the long whiskers — the same^ indeed, 
who brought Alice home from the pic-nic that 
night — well, she is going to marry him, and the 
wedding is to be this summer. I told you once 
that I thought as much : iDut you did not believe 
me. Won^t she make a bonnie bride ?'' 

''Janet!'' 

The voice startled her, it was so changed. He 
turned his face ; its utter paleness, and the awful 
cramp of agony which had come into it, told her 
all. 

" Davie, brother Davie ; I did not know. I 
never thought of tliis/^ 

'' Hush, Janet — don't speak,'' 

He leaned his cheek down upon her hand in 
the old tender way as she drew closer to him. 
Presently, she bent her head softly over his, and 
put her arm round him. But she spoke no word, 
for she knew that it was the valley of the shadow 
of death through which he was passing. 



310 ST. OLAVE^S. 

SO;, for another hour they sat, not a sigh, not a 
movement, breaking the stillness of that terrible 
vigil. At last, he raised his face ; his sister could 
scarcely bear to look upon it. 

" Janet,^^ he said, " I never told her anything. 
She has done me no wrong. I am sair weary now. 
Good night.^^ 

He stooped down and kissed her. His hands 
were damp and trembling, and the lips which 
touched her own quite cold. So they parted, and 
that was the last time for many and many a day 
that the name of Alice Grey was spoken between 
them. 



END or VOL. II.